In Los Angeles, navigating family legal issues, especially those involving family law, can be problematic. Dependency among juveniles is one such issue requiring exemplary legal representation. Dependency court is used to protect children when their parents are unable to do so, and its aim is typically family reunification. If this is not possible, foster care or adoption may be necessary, and the adoptive parent may be granted a protective order. If deemed necessary by the court, dependency law also provides for protective custody for a child in need of protection.
In Los Angeles, dependency proceedings typically commence when a juvenile or family court files a petition against the parents. At this juncture, the court has the authority to order temporary protective custody of the child but not permanent custody. In addition, orders issued by law courts have precedence over orders issued by other courts within or outside of Los Angeles County that are in conflict.
What's The Objective of Dependency Proceedings?
The primary objective of dependency proceedings before the juvenile court is to provide for the best interests of children and protect them from any damage. The proceedings may also order parents to pay child support or, if necessary, terminate parental rights. If a parent is deemed unfit to care for their child, another adult may be appointed legal guardian until the child reaches adulthood or until circumstances alter such that it is safe for the child to return home.
Family court handles legal issues involving the family, and the court has discretion to determine a child’s best interests and issue custody or counseling orders. When determining custody, the court will consider a variety of factors, including parental influence, custody laws, and the child’s preference. The California Child Custody law requires courts to consider a child’s best interests when determining guardianship and visitation rights. In order for parents to be better equipped to care for their children upon reunification, they may also be ordered to attend counseling or parenting classes.
The initial hearing conducted in a juvenile dependency case is a detention hearing. A judge will determine whether to detain or release the child during the detention hearing. This hearing’s primary purpose is to determine whether it is secure for the child to return home with their parents or whether they should remain in foster care. If you’re facing a dependency legal issue with your child, contact us now.