A Brief Look at Dependency Cases

Here is a hypothetical scenario: a child is taken away from you because, unbeknownst to you, someone anonymously contacted an abuse hotline alleging that the child was being neglected, abandoned, or abused. You now find yourself having to navigate the legalities of a dependency case.

A dependency case, also called a Chapter 39 trial, is a civil suit focused on claims of a child being abused, neglected, or being abandoned. Florida Statute 39.001 describes the purpose of providing a safe environment for the care, safety, and protection of a child. This agrees that most parents wish to provide for their kids. Kids' safety, however, is paramount.

The court must hold a Shelter Hearing within 24 hours of the child being taken from parent or guardian custody. The court will utilize the Shelter Hearing to determine whether the Department of Children and Families (DCF) will return the child to their home, or whether the child will remain outside the custody of the parent or guardian.

The court will examine the Dependency Petition. The petition outlines the alleged charges against the guardian or the parent. The parent or guardian may confirm the validity of the claims, agree to a case plan or the claims may be denied.

This update is provided by the firm Rafool, LLC. We have a strong reputation throughout Florida and we have numerous years of experience representing clients involved in complex divorce cases as well as other family law matters. Should you have any domestic or family issue, we are here to assist you by providing educated advice and skilled, professional advocacy. Call 305-567-9400 to speak with a Miami family law lawyer or a Miami FL divorce attorney.

This information is provided for educational or informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. The information is not provided in the course of an attorney-client relationship and is not intended to substitute for legal advice.