top of page


Private Dependency / Deprivation Actions

Why are private dependency actions (that used to be called deprivation actions) on a website about adoption?  Often, in cases where a parent may refuse to sign papers, either a Guardianship or a Private deprivation action will be the first step on a road towards adoption.  Private Dependency Actions are a request for immediate interaction from the Court when a child’s life or well-being is in immediate danger.  Exposure to drugs, abandonment, physical or sexual abuse, homelessness, failure to thrive (severe hunger or illness due to neglect), and failures on the part of the parents that require quicker action from the court are all examples of issues that can arise.  Unlike a Guardianship, which can be for something like neglect of a child’s grades, a Dependency Action is an action claiming that the parent is actively failing in a way that is causing immediate harm.

Many times, a parent agrees to let family adopt or have a guardianship after a long period of neglect, but then backs out right as things are at their worst.  In those circumstances, a private Dependency Action allows an individual to take a matter of the welfare of a child to the Juvenile court to ask for placement while the child’s safety is preserved.  

The parents WILL have an opportunity to remedy or to get help for underlying issues (such as drug addiction) in most cases.  (Cases of sexual abuse or other extreme cases typically do not carry the same options for parents).   The law is that the parent has first rights to a child.  Therefore, the judge will give a parent the right to try to get life in order.  The Juvenile Court Judge can terminate parental rights in a Dependency action, and if the parents do not get help for the underlying problems, this often leads to an adoption by a family member.

Any petitioner for Dependency should be advised that this is not a fast process, and it usually takes over a year from beginning to end (during which time the child is placed in a safe environment).  It can be one of the costliest areas of law, and if a parent does get life in order, the child will be returned to that parent.  Having the main goal of eventual adoption can cost a good deal more than immediate safety of a child, so speak with your attorney in the beginning about your primary goals.  Of course, in this type of case, our primary concern is always the well-being and safety of a child, and we will not pursue any case in a way that is contrary to law.  This means we will not represent parties in deprivation actions who do not put the child’s needs first or who act in a way to intentionally impede the parents.  If, however, you are willing to fight for the safety of the child, and you acknowledge that the parent may get the needed help and end your potential for guardianship/custody/adoption, we are willing to fight hard to protect your family’s child in need.

Our retaining fee starts at $5,000 for this type of case, and we bill hourly at $250 to $395 an hour, depending on the experience of the attorney.  (More details would be explained in a legal services agreement, which must be signed for representation to begin.

To go over your situation’s facts and your options, call 770-863-8355  to set up a free in-office or phone consultation.




Address: 1355 Terrell Mill Road
Building 1472
Suite 100
Marietta, Georgia 30067


Address: 3525 Piedmont Rd NE
Bldg 6, Ste 300
Atlanta, GA 30305


Address: 16 Eastbrook Bend
Suite 201
Peachtree City, Georgia 30269

Tel:  770-863-8355

bottom of page