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The Florida Senate

2017 Florida Statutes

F.S. 984.17
984.17 Response to petition and representation of parties.
(1) At the time a petition is filed, the court may appoint a guardian ad litem for the child.
(2) No answer to the petition or any other pleading need be filed by any child, parent, or legal custodian, but any matters which might be set forth in an answer or other pleading may be pleaded orally before the court or filed in writing as any such person may choose. Notwithstanding the filing of an answer or any pleading, the child or parent shall, prior to an adjudicatory hearing, be advised by the court of the right to counsel.
(3) When a petition for a child in need of services has been filed and the parents, guardian, or legal custodian of the child and the child have advised the department that the truth of the allegations is acknowledged and that no contest is to be made of the adjudication, the attorney representing the department may set the case before the court for a disposition hearing. If there is a change in the plea at this hearing, the court shall continue the hearing to permit the attorney representing the department to prepare and present the case.
(4) An attorney representing the department shall represent the state in any proceeding in which the petition alleges that a child is a child in need of services and in which a party denies the allegations of the petition and contests the adjudication.
History.s. 8, ch. 87-133; s. 13, ch. 92-170; s. 236, ch. 95-147; s. 29, ch. 96-398; s. 103, ch. 97-238; s. 9, ch. 97-281.
Note.Former s. 39.438.