Understanding Dependency Charges

Are you facing dependency charges? If so, understanding what these charges are, how they affect your custody, and what the potential consequences are is crucial. If you are facing dependency charges, getting legal help is critical. There is far too much at stake to try to deal with these charges on your own.

What are dependency charges?

Dependency charges often fall into a variety of categories, including: 

  • Abandonment
  • Neglect
  • Abuse

Abandonment is defined as a “conscious disregard for parental obligations.” There are a variety of forms of neglect including medical, environmental, and physical neglect. Essentially, this means a child was not protected. In some of these instances, children are without shelter, food, clothing, and other necessities to live a safe and stable life. Abuse, on the other hand, is defined as endangerment and physical, emotional, sexual, or mental harm.

Who asserts dependency charges?

These charges may be asserted against a parent by Child Protective Services, the other parent, or someone in the community who has observed neglect, abuse, or abandonment and feels compelled to report it.

In some situations, neglect may be unintentional. For example, if a parent recently lost their job and cannot afford necessities, this may be considered unintentional. Whether intentional or not, the end goal is for the child to be in a safe, stable, and supportive environment.

How to Handle Your Dependency Charges 

The circumstances surrounding the dependency charges will impact the outcome in court. However, even if you believe you are innocent and your child is safe in your custody, you should get a family law attorney to assist with the proceedings. A lawyer can help you build your case and defend you in court. Without an attorney, you may not be able to represent yourself adequately, and you risk losing your children in some circumstances.

The party bringing the case must show that you are guilty of the accusations to remove your children from your custody. However, children may be temporarily removed if their health and safety are threatened in any way.

The Potential Consequences of Dependency Charges

Dependency charges can result in a variety of adverse consequences. Depending on the charge, the court takes into consideration whether or not the act was done intentionally, recklessly, or with criminal negligence. Each of these carries a different consequence, with the latter resulting in the heaviest punishment.

A parent can receive a misdemeanor for intentionally inflicting an injury upon a child or for doing so with criminal negligence. With regard to abandonment, the parent can be found guilty of a felony if the child is injured.

If you have received notice that there are dependency charges filed against you, secure a family attorney who can assist you throughout the process. At the end of the day, the safety of your child is the ultimate goal. Bobby Barina Law can help. Contact us to schedule an appointment.