Knoxville dependency and neglect lawyer

Have you received a hearing notice from the court about a dependency and neglect proceeding? If so, it is in your best interest to speak to an experienced Knoxville dependency neglect lawyer from Hotz & Associates, P.C. about your case.

Our skilled Knoxville family lawyers represent parents facing allegations of dependency and neglect, and we may also serve as Guardian ad Litem in certain cases. A Guardian ad Litem is an attorney for a minor child or children who advocates for the child’s best interest.

Whether you are a parent with dependency and neglect allegations made against you, or you need to find an advocate to protect a minor child’s best interest, please give us a call (865) 582-0042 or contact us online for a free consultation.

knoxville dependency neglect lawyer

Circumstances that could lead to a dependency and neglect proceeding

Dependency and neglect cases often include an act or failure to act, on the part of a parent or caretaker, that results in death, serious physical or emotional harm, or sexual abuse, which places the child at imminent risk of serious harm.

While every case involving dependency and neglect is different in Tennessee, the most common circumstances that can lead to a proceeding include the following:

  • Physical abuse
  • The child commits a crime
  • Sexual abuse
  • The child is continually late or absent from school
  • Severe emotional abuse
  • One or both of the parents is involved in a domestic abuse case
  • Abandonment
  • Neglect (failing to provide clothing, food, shelter, supervision, or medical care for the child)

There can be many different causes of neglect, but more often than not, it is due to drug or alcohol abuse or untreated mental illness. If you have been summoned to a dependency and neglect hearing, contact an experienced Knoxville family lawyer at Hotz & Associates, P.C. about your situation today.

Child commits a crime

If your child has committed a crime, the courts in Tennessee might request that you appear at a dependency and neglect proceeding to determine the best course of action. Unlawful acts committed by children due to lack of supervision can lead to you losing custody of your child.

Juvenile crime can also lead to your child being remanded to a juvenile detention center if their crime was of a serious nature.

Juvenile detention centers in Tennessee

If the child is convicted of a felony offense, they will likely be sentenced to a hardware secure facility, of which there are two in Tennessee. These facilities are located in Somerville and Dandridge. The length of stay for a child sent to one of these facilities is often one year or more.

A child convicted of a misdemeanor crime or who violates their probation can be taken from their parents and sent to a community-based facility. Children often remain at these facilities for up to six months.

The programs at these facilities focus on the rehabilitation of the child from behavioral or mental health issues. Individual and family therapy can also be provided by the staff as well as in-home counseling when the child is released from custody and returned to their parents.

When your child is at risk of being removed from your custody, talk to a Knoxville dependency and neglect lawyer from Hotz & Associates, P.C. about your situation.

Child is continually late or absent from school

Truancy is another serious issue that can lead to a dependency and neglect hearing in Knoxville, Tennessee. If your child is continually late or absent from school, you can be held accountable by the court. It is important to your child’s growth by mentally and emotionally to be in school regularly and arrive on time all the time. When a child is routinely late or absent from class, they are the ones who suffer the most.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, students in grades 1-12 in Tennessee must attend 180 days of school that provide 6.5 hours of learning. Some absences from school can be excused if they are documented.

For example, if your child has to stay home due to a death in the family, illness, surgery, or another serious issue, you can obtain excusals from the district so long as you appropriately notify them.

knoxville dependency neglect lawyer truancy

One or both parents is involved in a domestic abuse case

If one or both of the child’s parents is involved in a domestic abuse case, even if it does not directly involve the child, a dependency and neglect proceeding could be scheduled by the courts in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Domestic abuse can lead to your child being removed from your home, especially if the case involves the child and the other parent. Speak to an experienced Knoxville dependency and neglect lawyer about your situation today.

Consequences of a dependency and neglect proceeding

If the court finds that your child was neglected or forced to be dependent because of parental absence, the child might be removed from your care.

If the child is removed from your care, they could be placed in legal custody with Tennessee in a foster care situation or sent to an approved private party. The approved private party could wind up being a related family member. Removal of your child by the court could be temporary until your situation is resolved or permanent if it believes your situation is too serious for your child to reenter the home.

Why you need to work with an attorney

The potential loss of your child from your care is a scary thought. It is understandable that you are going through a difficult time. However, the court wants you to be able to care for your child no matter what. A Knoxville dependency and neglect lawyer will work to ensure that you do not lose custody of your child.

An attorney will help you with the following:

  • Respond to the hearing notice
  • Collect evidence on your behalf
  • Interview your child
  • Conduct interviews with the child’s teacher(s), school administrators, doctor, and other important people
  • Build a strategy to defend your right to retain custody of your child
  • Represent you in court at the hearing by speaking on your behalf
  • Filing an appeal to an unfavorable court decision
  • Fighting to regain the custody of your child if the court deems you unfit

The Knoxville dependency and neglect lawyers with Hotz & Associates have a clear understanding of the laws in Tennessee. You do not want to take the risk of representing yourself at a hearing that can lead to the loss of custody of your child.

Our Knoxville dependency and neglect lawyer is ready to help

Let an experienced attorney represent you while you work to straighten out whatever area of your life the court feels needs to be repaired. Call our office at (865) 582-0042 or submit our contact form to schedule a free consultation today.