Your Aggressive Tavares Lawyers For DCF Cases
Preserving And Reuniting Families
The Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) is the agency charged with investigating allegations of child abuse, abandonment, and neglect, and with taking action if the agency believes that there is evidence that a child is at risk or has been harmed.
The action taken by DCF can range from providing supervision and services while the child remains in the home, to removing a child from the home, to seeking to terminate the rights of the child’s parents.
Unfortunately, while there are many cases where a child is at risk or has been the victim of abuse, there are also many cases where parents face false accusations. Whatever your circumstances, if DCF is involved with your family, then you should consult with one of our lawyers immediately. It is critical to hire a lawyer who understands DCF cases and the specific legal procedures that are involved.
At the Law Office of Robyn A. Hudson, P.A. in Tavares, Florida, we serve parents and caregivers who are involved in DCF cases across Lake County and Sumter County. We understand that the outcome of your case will have a major impact on your relationship with your children. You can depend on us to provide aggressive representation aimed at helping you achieve the best available outcome.
Working Tirelessly To Protect Your Rights Throughout The Legal Process
Shelter Hearing: If your child has been removed from your home, you have the right to a hearing within 24 hours. This hearing, known as a “shelter hearing,” will determine whether DCF has enough evidence to keep your child until a full trial can be held. Other important issues, such as parental visitation and placement of the child, will also be addressed at this hearing. The sooner you get our law firm involved in your case, the more we can do to assist you.
Mediation: In most cases, a mediation is scheduled after a child has been removed to determine whether the parties (the parents, DCF, and sometimes a Guardian ad Litem) can agree on a plan for the return of the child to the home. We can help you negotiate and determine whether to enter into such an agreement or whether to proceed to trial.
Adjudicatory Hearing: If the parties cannot reach an agreement as to how and when to return the child to the home, then a trial is held before a judge where DCF will have to attempt to prove its allegations, and where the parents will have an opportunity to defend against those allegations. If your case goes to trial, then we will be prepared to vigorously argue your case before a judge.
Case Plan: If an agreement is reached at mediation, or if DCF proves its allegations at trial, the Court will usually order a case plan with services or tasks that the parents must complete in order for the child to be returned. If a case plan is ordered, it is important to have an experienced attorney who can assist you in making sure that the case plan is appropriate for your case and that DCF provides you with the assistance that you need to complete the case plan.
Reunification: Even if the Court determines that a child should remain out of the home while a parent completes a case plan, return of the child to the parent (or reunification) is usually the goal of the case. Our experienced attorneys can help ensure that you are given a clear path to reunification with your child, and can help you show the Court that reunification should be ordered in your case.
Termination of Parental Rights / Other Permanency Determinations: In some cases, DCF will determine that reunification should not be pursued. Or, even if reunification is the initial goal, if a child is not returned to the home within a certain period of time, then the Court will consider termination of parental rights or another permanency option for the child such as permanent guardianship. It is important that you have an aggressive attorney on your side who can advise you regarding your options and defend you in this matter.
Putting Our Experience To Work For You
Our attorneys have extensive experience with DCF cases and with assisting clients in all facets of those cases. Over the past decades, we have represented parents facing all types of accusations, including:
- Domestic violence
- Drug use
- Physical abuse or excessive corporal punishment
- Mental health issues
- Sexual abuse