Jacksonville Dependency Attorney
Experienced & Knowledgeable Counsel for Dependency Actions
Dependency cases generally begin when the Department of Children and Families (DCF) removes a child from the custodian’s care (parents or legal guardians) due to the child being abused, neglected or abandoned. Even though DCF initiates the majority of dependency cases, anyone can file a dependency action. Dependency actions can be a very confusing and intimidating and the stakes are very high.
You do not have to go through this process alone. Our Jacksonville family law attorneys at the Law Office of Stephanie Gurrola PLLC are here to guide you through the process. Our caring attorneys will be with you each step of the way to ensure that your rights are protected.
Call the Law Office of Stephanie Gurrola PLLC at (904) 674-3177 for compassionate legal guidance during dependency actions.
The Dependency Process
When a child has been removed from the home, a shelter hearing must be conducted in front of a judge within 24 hours. The DCF presents the allegations against the parents or legal guardians, including probable cause for current or imminent risk, as well as recommendations for placement and visitation.
Generally, the department would then serve a Petition for Dependency to the parents or guardians, who must then attend a hearing and admit to, deny, or consent to the allegations. From here, parents or guardians are expected to develop a plan to address the issues. The initial goal of this plan, usually, is reunification.
In some cases, the goal might be:
- Termination of Parental Rights – If the abuse, neglect, or abandonment continues, or the parent(s) otherwise violate the case plan, parental rights may be terminated.
- Adoption – A relative, such as a grandparent, adult sibling, or aunt or uncle, may seek to legally adopt a child.
- Emancipation – Minors 16 and older may be granted legal emancipation from their parents or guardians if the court agrees they are financially independent.
Our Jacksonville family lawyers have more than a decade of hands-on experience in the Florida family court system. We are here to help you.
Contact us at (904) 674-3177 today for a free case consultation.