Top Livingston, AL Child Abandonment Lawyers Near You

Child Abandonment Lawyers | Livingston Office

112 Marshall St., PO Box 907, Livingston, AL 35470-0907

Livingston Child Abandonment Information

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Find a Child Abandonment Attorney near Livingston

Child Abandonment Cases

A child may be deemed abandoned in a variety of ways ranging from leaving an infant on a doorstep to parents being unwilling to provide care, support or supervision of a child. The exact situations that count as child abandonment vary from location to location, so it is best to contact a local attorney know precisely constitutes child abandonment in Alabama.

What Is Child Abandonment?

Child abandonment typically refers to an offense in which one or more parents knowingly and intentionally deserts a child without regard to the welfare of the child or fails to provide the necessary and required care of their child, leading to gross neglect.

In less grave circumstances, child abandonment cases can also be brought against defendants on the basis of more technical matters, such as leaving the child in the care of a non-relative or non-custodial guardian for more than three to six months without making contact or providing financial support to said child.

How to Prove Child Abandonment

In more egregious cases of child abandonment, it is evidently clear to investigating authorities that child abandonment has taken place such as eyewitness accounts, no parent present, no guardian present, the child living in squalor or suffering from obvious malnutrition.

However, in many cases, the nuances surrounding a child abandonment case may actually be a matter of contested facts or circumstances between the prosecution (representing a private plaintiff, whether a spouse, ex-spouse or family member attempting to annul parental rights of the alleged offender) and the defendant.

In these cases, the prosecution typically looks for firmer evidence that meets the requirements for termination of the defendant’s parental rights and any further penalties belonging to the alleged abandonment according to state statutes. For example, illustrating via a lack of messaging and/or money that the defendant likely did not make any effort to contact or support a child legally under their care.

How Many Days Away Is Considered Child Abandonment?

The answer to this question depends entirely on the state in which the plaintiff is pursuing charges. In some states, a definite time frame is not laid out in contested cases where a parent may be making “token” or “incidental” visits to the child they are legally responsible for, fostering no meaningful relationship over a long period of time, etc. However, if the parent(s) cannot be found by authorities after a 60-day search period in more obvious cases of abandonment, that is the legal deadline before charges can be filed.

In other states, if the child has been left without proper documentation (birth certificate) by the legal parent(s), or if the parent(s) have left the child in the care of another person for at least six months with no material support or connection, or if the plaintiff themselves has been caring for the child for one year without any material connection being made from the defendant to the child this can be grounds to form the elements of a child abandonment case.

In general, these rules apply more broadly to most states, with the vast majority of U.S. jurisdictions having enacted similar statutes regarding the practice of child abandonment.

Can You Go to Jail for Child Abandonment in Alabama?

Yes. Child abandonment is a serious offense and those convicted of it are likely to face incarceration as well as monetary fines.

What Is the Penalty for Child Abandonment?

The penalty for child abandonment depends both upon the state statutes relevant to the case (which state the case is being tried in) as well as the severity of the situation surrounding the abandonment, with a focus on the particulars.

In certain states, child abandonment can be classified as either felony or as a misdemeanor. The former can result in a possible six-year prison term, while the latter can see those convicted facing up to a year in jail in addition to a fine of $2,000.

Can a Lawyer Help With Child Abandonment Charges?

If you are facing charges related to child abandonment, your first step toward resolving the matter should be to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney.

A skilled attorney familiar with child abandonment cases, case law and the precedent established by former state court judgments is an invaluable asset in protecting yourself. A lawyer familiar with these matters can advise you as to how best to proceed with your case.

A conviction related to child abandonment can lead to a lifelong criminal record, and so it is vitally important to secure adequate legal counsel before proceeding.

Are You Facing Child Abandonment Charges?

If you have been charged with the crime of child abandonment, you need legal representation. Each state has its own child abandonment laws categorizing child abandonment as either a felony and other states may categorize it as a misdemeanor. For information regarding the penalties and punishment for violating child abandonment laws, contact an attorney.

Top Questions to Ask When Hiring an Attorney

  • How many years have you been practicing law? How long have you practiced law in the local area?
  • How many cases similar to mine have you handled in the past?
  • What is the likely outcome for my case?

In legal practice, experience matters. An experienced attorney will likely have handled issues similar to yours many, many times. Therefore, after listening to your situation, the attorney should have a reasonable idea of the time line for a case like yours and the likely resolution.

Tips on Approaching an Initial Attorney Consultation

  • Use the consultation as a means of gaining a better understanding of your legal situation.
  • Ask the attorney how many cases similar to yours he/she has handled. An attorney’s experience and knowledge can speak to their expertise (or lack of) in addressing your situation.
  • Your attorney should be able to articulate roughly how long a case like yours will take to resolve and what sort of procedures to expect.
  • Determine how comfortable you are working with the lawyer and/or law firm.

How will an attorney charge me?

A reputable attorney will be very upfront about how he/she will charge you. The three most common fee structures that attorneys use to charge for their services are:

  • Bill by the hour
  • Contingent fee agreement
  • Flat fee agreement

Depending on your specific legal situation, it’s possible that only one type of fee structure is available. For instance, criminal defense attorneys almost always bill by the hour. In a flat fee arrangement, an attorney accepts a one-time payment to help you resolve your issue. With a contingent fee agreement, the client pays little to nothing upfront and the attorney receives a percentage of the money recovered if you win your case.

Common legal terms explained

Pro se – This Latin term refers to representing yourself in court instead of hiring professional legal counsel. Pro se representation can occur in either criminal or civil cases.

Statute – Refers to a law created by a legislative body. For example, the laws enacted by Congress are statutes.

Subject matter jurisdiction – Requirement that a particular court have authority to hear the claim based on the specific type of issue brought to the court. For example, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court only has subject matter jurisdiction over bankruptcy filings, therefore it does not have the authority to render binding judgment over other types of cases, such as divorce.

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