Within the last ten years, Attorney Jackie Brown’s firm has spent a significant among of time working in Juvenile Court representing clients on criminal, custody and dependency matters.
Children are just as capable of breaking the law as adults, but a juvenile defendant requires the assistance of an attorney who is experienced in juvenile law.
In Juvenile Court these criminal acts are called delinquent acts. It’s an act committed by a child that is designated a violation, misdemeanor, or felony offense pursuant to the law of the municipality, county, or state in which the act was committed (The term delinquent acts do not apply to some acts committed by juveniles).
If your child has been charged with a crime or is the subject of a criminal investigation, you must act immediately. A criminal defense lawyer with experience in juvenile law can help you understand your child’s legal options, represent your child at every court appearance and work to minimize the immediate and long-term impact on your child.
No matter what your child has been charged with, an attorney who is knowledgeable in juvenile law can help reduce the odds of your child facing the most severe forms of punishment.
Juvenile criminal law works differently than the law in the adult court system in many important ways, so it makes sense to have the appropriate legal representation. Don’t leave your child helpless and unprotected when he or she is charged with a crime — consult with an experienced juvenile law attorney.
Juvenile Custody Matters – Between Nonmarried Parents
Juvenile Custody Matters can take two forms in juvenile court. The first is custody of a minor child between unmarried parents. These cases are generally assigned to a specific judge. The court standard in deciding these cases are in the best interest of the child. The Court is considering the factors as in divorce proceeding which includes:
- The historical care of the child while the parties were together and after their separation
- Each of your abilities to provide a stable and healthy environment for the Child
- Any history of domestic abuse or child neglect, criminal behavior, substance abuse or parental alienation
- Each of your histories of involvement regarding the child’s schooling and healthcare
- One important factor to note is whether a Court has issued a child support order between the parties
- Pursuant to the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals case, an order of support is an award of custody to the child support recipient.
Therefore, if the noncustodial parent wants to take that parent to court for custody, the standard is no longer the best interest of the child, but a much higher standard must be applied for a Juvenile Court Judge to modify the existing custody order.
Juvenile Dependency Actions – Parent against a Nonparent
These cases are filed probably more often than you think. A juvenile dependency action is filed against both parents and alleges that the parents are unable or unwilling and are not providing for the necessities of their child or children. Children in need of care or supervision may also be adjudicated dependent. These cases are primarily brought to Court by the Department of Human Resources. However, there are many people including grandparents, siblings, other relatives and even a friend or neighbor that can file a petition for custody of a child they have been caring for.
The presumption that the child’s best interests will be served if he is in the custody of a natural parent is a fundamental right protected by the due process standards of the Constitution. The natural parent has prima facie right to custody of his child, as against the custody of a nonparent. However, that requires a parent to be a parent and not to leave this fundamental right of protecting, loving and supplying the child’s basic needs to others.
This is a very complex and emotional area of the law because of the factors that are usually alleged in complaints of this nature. However, every child deserves to have their basic needs provided for. If you believe this is not happening for a child, and you believe the parents have neglected these basic needs of a child, I encourage you to call our office and talk with an experienced attorney about your options.
Visitations Rights of Fathers
Many fathers do not realize they have the absolute right to be involved and have regular contact with their child. Many fathers just “accept” what the mother tells them or even someone else if the custodian of their child is someone other than the mother. If you are the father of a minor child and you are not married to the mother, I can assist you in getting visitation rights with your child, so you don’t just have to “accept” what is said.
Your rights as a father are equally as important as the mother’s rights and the Juvenile Court would like to see all fathers actively participating in their children’s lives. If you receive a summons to court for child support only, you need to be aware of the child support laws and court decision which states a child support order to the custodial mother is also an order of custody to the mother. If you find yourself going to court only for child support, ask the court to allow you to continue the case so that you can consult an experienced attorney.