Miami-Dade Dependency Defense Attorneys
Committed to Protecting Your Children & Your Family
In Florida, allegations of child abuse, neglect, or abandonment – regardless of their merit or the truth behind them – may initiate a dependency lawsuit. Dependency lawsuits are filed by the state when someone – usually a friend, family member, neighbor, coach, or teacher – reports suspicions of abuse or neglect. If you have been accused of child abuse, you must take this matter seriously. Though a dependency case does not inherently involve criminal charges, your rights and your relationship with your child are at stake. Act quickly to protect yourself by consulting with our dependency defense attorneys in Miami-Dade County.
Based in Coral Gables, Orshan, Spann & Fernandez-Mesa represents parents throughout the region. We understand how devastating it can be to face such serious allegations. Your family needs and deserves the support of an experienced and trusted law firm.
Discuss your situation with us by calling (305) 853-9161 and scheduling a confidential consultation with our team of legal professionals.
Addressing Child Abuse, Neglect & Abandonment
Child abuse and neglect are serious problems in Florida and throughout the country. Florida’s Department of Children and Families (DCF) is responsible for protecting children from parents who fail to financially, emotionally, and physically support their children.
Examples of abuse, neglect, and abandonment include:
- Leaving a child with a third party who is not an appropriate caregiver
- Making children live in unclean or unsanitary conditions
- Failing to properly feed or clothe a child
- Failing to bring the child to school/neglecting the child’s education
- Physical or sexual assault
- Emotional abuse
The Dependency Process in Florida
The Florida DCF has an Abuse Hotline that accepts reports 24/7. Once someone reports suspected abuse or abandonment, the DCF will send an investigator to assess the situation and determine whether the child needs to be removed from the home.
If a child is removed from their home, the DCF will assume temporary custody and hold a shelter hearing within 24 hours. The shelter hearing is the first step in the legal proceedings of a dependency case. Its goal is to determine whether the child should remain in protective custody or be returned home.
A child may be put in a shelter if there is probable cause to believe that:
- The child has been neglected, abused, or abandoned
- A parent or guardian has violated a court-ordered condition of placement
- There is no parent or guardian to take in the child
Following a shelter hearing, the DCF will serve the parent(s) with a Petition for Dependency. An arraignment will be held within 30 days of the child’s removal from the home. At the arraignment, the child’s parent or guardian can respond to the abuse allegations and state their case.
Seek Guidance from Orshan, Spann & Fernandez-Mesa
If you wish to regain custody or prevent your child from being taken from you, it is vital that you have an attorney by your side during these legal proceedings. Our Miami-Dade dependency defense lawyers know how to navigate these situations with care and present strong cases on our clients’ behalf. Our goal is to protect your children’s best interests while simultaneously protecting your parental rights.
At Orshan, Spann & Fernandez-Mesa, we have seen firsthand the devastation of separating a family. We can help prove to the courts that your home is safe and secure for your child. If you need treatment and support for substance abuse or mental health conditions, we can be there to make sure you get the help you need. We strive to bring families together and help them move forward to a brighter future.
We Treat You Like Family
We strive to provide quality, thoughtful, timely service to each of our clients. We provide timely, detailed updates on your case and make ourselves available to answer and follow up on any questions you may have.
Personalized Attention to Your Case
Every individual and family has a unique set of circumstances requiring a tailored approach. We treat each client as if they were our only client. Each case is treated with the utmost care and attention.
Thoughtful Preparation & Planning
We will get you through every step and be fully transparent of the process and what you can expect. We take a collaborative approach with our clients - we want to know what you think.
Quality, High-Caliber Representation
Our team is well-respected and recognized throughout the Miami-Dade area. We're known for our precise, in-depth knowledge of the law and versatile, strategic approach to each client's case.