What is Child Abandonment?
A minor child is considered to be abandoned if during a consecutive 30-day period, its father or mother does not furnish sufficient food, clothing, or shelter for the needs of the child, leaving the child in a dependent condition. An application for a Child Abandonment Warrant will be scheduled for a probable cause hearing to determine if the minor child has been abandoned.
Child Abandonment Warrant Applications
All persons applying for a misdemeanor arrest warrant for Criminal Abandonment of a Child will be required to provide a case number for an open child support case filed with the Georgia Department of Human Services before the warrant application will be scheduled for a hearing by a judge. You may contact the Department of Human Services at:
Department of Human Services
2910 Miller Road, Suite 100
Decatur, GA 30035-4037 view map
How Do I Apply For a Child Abandonment Warrant?
To apply for an Abandonment Warrant you would go to the Criminal Division of the Magistrate Court in the county where the minor child currently lives. If the child lives in DeKalb County, you would go to the Criminal Division of DeKalb Magistrate Court. The Criminal Division is located at 3630 Camp Circle Decatur, GA 30032 (view map). Remember that you must have a case number that corresponds to an open child support case when you apply.
At the Criminal Division, you will complete a criminal arrest warrant application form. Pursuant to state law there is a $20.00 warrant application fee (cash only). You must have the first and last name, complete date of birth and current address for the person you allege abandoned your child. If you do not have all of this information, the court may not be able to proceed with your application.
After you have completed your application a judge will administer an oath, read your application and hear your sworn testimony. If the judge finds that the application and sworn testimony support a finding of probable cause that your minor child has been left in a dependent state, then under Georgia law most civilian arrest warrant applications are set for a formal warrant application hearing. Under current law, there are very few instances when a criminal arrest warrant can be immediately issued upon the application of a private citizen without holding a warrant application hearing.
If the Judge determines that the application should be set down for a hearing, the court clerk will prepare a court notice document listing the crime alleged and setting the time, date, and location of the hearing. The court clerk will deliver one copy to the warrant applicant at the time of the application. The clerk will also mail one copy to the accused at the address provided by the applicant.
An essential aspect of this procedure is the duty of the court to ensure that the accused has legal, due process notice of this hearing as stated in Georgia law. If the court finds that there is insufficient address information, or that mailed notice was returned as undeliverable, then the hearing must be cancelled. Therefore, it is absolutely essential for the applicant to provide the court with correct address information for the accused.
The final determination of whether or not to issue a criminal warrant will be made at the warrant application hearing. If they chose to hire an attorney, either party may be represented by counsel. The Magistrate Court does not collect money, and cannot order child support. The court determines if there is cause to make an arrest from the hearing.
If the judge does not find probable cause that a crime has occurred then the case is dismissed and that ends the case in our court.
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