Dependency Law Services

Parent Representation

Juvenile Dependency cases are unique, difficult, and emotionally draining. There is nothing more precious than one’s children, and the fear of losing them is not comparable to any other fear.  Unfortunately, in most cases, Child Protective Services (CPS) has removed the child or children prior to the parent’s opportunity to be heard in court.  From there, parents face a series of hearings where they are essentially required to disprove the allegations of child abuse or neglect.  Ultimately, the children can be permanently removed from the parents’ custody and freed for adoption unless appropriate steps are taken to disprove the allegations or correct the parents’ behavior that lead to the initial allegation of abuse.  If you are a parent in this situation, don’t wait for things to get worse, contact James Legal Group for a free consultation.

Grandparent and Other Relative/Non-Relative Representation

Under California law, if a child is removed from the physical custody of his or her parents during a dependency proceeding, the court must give preferential consideration to requests made by relatives for placement of the child, regardless of the relative’s immigration status. Often this includes Non-Relative Extended Family Members who have a close relationship with the child that has been removed from his or her parent(s). Unfortunately, relatives and non-relatives are often overlooked by Child Protective Services and not brought to the attention of the court due to the expeditious nature of the Dependency system. If you are in this situation and feel like your voice is not being heard, contact James Legal Group for a free consultation.

De Facto Representation

A “De Facto Parent” is a person who has been found by the court to have assumed the role of parent on a day-to-day basis for a substantial period of time. Additionally, A De Facto Parent fulfills the child’s physical and psychological needs for care and affection.  An individual seeking to establish the status of a De Facto Parent must file his or her request with the court.  The court will conduct a hearing (especially if other parties object) to determine whether this status can be received.  If De Facto Parent status is granted, the De Facto Parent becomes a party to the case and has certain (limited) rights, such as the right to be present at all dependency hearings, the right to present evidence at the hearings, and the right to request custody and visitation rights at these hearings. If you plan on filing for De Facto Parent status, or already hold the status but want to invoke your rights, contact James Legal Group for a free consultation.