Children’s Lawyer in Los Angeles, CA
What Is Children’s Law?
Children’s law is the subsection of family law that is focused on the well-being and guardianship of children. Children’s court deals with a wide range of topics, from dependency cases to foster care to adoption and surrogacy. Luckily, most people never become acquainted with this court, because most children’s law investigations never make it before a judge. However, If you are facing an issue that falls under children’s law, it is important to talk to an attorney before you take any other action. Not only will an experienced family law attorney fight for your rights as parents, he will help you explain your side without incriminating yourself or otherwise risking losing the case.
Do We Need a Lawyer for Our DFCS or Dependency Hearing?
In most situations, a dependency case begins when a teacher, doctor, therapist, or police officer files a report about your children’s home life with the Department of Children and Family Services. Once this occurs, a meeting will be scheduled to discuss the complaint with you. Before this meeting occurs, it is crucial that you enlist the help of an attorney who is experienced with local DCFS and Child Protective Services procedures. A highly-qualified lawyer is the best protection your family can have during this process.
After the hearing, DCFS will continue to monitor your family for about six months. During this time, the assigned Child Service Worker can recommend your children be removed from the home at any time. By working closely with your lawyer to ensure you are following all agreed upon rules, you can prevent this from happening.
If the children are detained, a hearing must be scheduled as soon as possible. During this hearing, your attorney will argue to reunite your family, request visitation, or ask for placement with relatives or friends.
Should I Use the Court-Appointed Lawyer?
According to California law, your family will be assigned an attorney before a dependency hearing. In LA, these attorneys are from a group called Los Angeles Dependency Lawyers or LADL. These lawyers are well-trained, but often overworked. The will not have the time to dedicate to protecting your family that a private attorney can offer. For this reason, it is best to hire your own counsel if you can afford it. Even if you begin the process with a court-appointed lawyer, it is never too late to switch to a private attorney.
What is Required to Adopt a Child in Foster Care?
Foster care operates on the assumption that the child may be able to return to the care of their birth parents or other relatives after a period of time. In many cases, however, this does not happen. Sometimes, the children remain in the foster care system until they reach legal age. Other times, they are adopted by their foster parents.
These adoptions are not always as clear-cut as traditional private or agency adoptions, necessitating the need for a skilled children’s law attorney. In many cases, the biological parents do not wish to terminate their parental rights to the child. The foster care agency must seek the termination of these rights through legal channels. Only after these rights have been terminated can the adoptive parents finalize the adoption of the child with the help of their family law attorney.
What are Defacto Parents?
There are a number of reasons someone may need to prove defacto parent status. In most cases, the adult is already caring for the child on a day-to-day basis but has no legal rights to serve as their guardian. Defacto parent status allows the adult to continue providing for the child’s physical and emotional needs. This status, however, does not guarantee visitation if the biological parents regain custody of the child. It does allow the defacto parent to request custody or visitation, and to play a role in any hearings involving the child’s placement. A children’s law attorney can offer additional advice and guidance for those who are wondering if they need to file for defacto parent status.
How Can Land Legal Group Help in Los Angeles?
No matter what legal situation is putting your family at risk — from a DCFS investigation to detention or a desire to adopt a child you’ve been parenting from the foster care system — ensuring your case is handled properly is crucial for the future of your family. Serving Los Angeles and surrounding areas, the attorneys at Land Legal Group can provide you with the advocacy and guidance you need in order to protect your children and your family. Call (310) 552-3500 today to schedule your consultation with a member of our team.