Dispositional Hearing (Legal Definition And Aspects You Should Know)

What is a Dispositional Hearing?

How do you legally define it?

What are the important aspects you should know!

Keep reading as we have gathered exactly the information that you need!

Let’s dig into our legal dictionary!

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Dispositional Hearing Basics 

To start with, let’s go over the basics to understand what is a disposition hearing.

A dispositional hearing is generally held in a family court or juvenile court to resolve a legal issue or matter.

In this type of hearing, the case is heard with the objective to legally resolve the case after the case is adjudicated.

For example, according to the Child Welfare Law in Ohio, if a child is found to be abused or neglected in an adjudicatory hearing, the court will hold a separate dispositional hearing to determine the most appropriate steps for the child.

In some cases, the court may decide to remove the child from the home of its parents.

Dispositional Hearing definition

What is the disposition hearing definition?

How do you define disposition hearing?

A disposition hearing in family court or in a juvenile court is a type of hearing held for the court to decide how to deal with an abused or neglected child.

To make a decision, the court will consider the following aspects:

  • Alternative care
  • Treatment for the child
  • Child rehabilitation 
  • Placement of the child
  • Participation of the child’s parents with treatment or child rehabilitation 
  • Financial responsibility of the parents or guardians 

When are dispositional hearings held 

In juvenile courts, the dispositional hearing is similar to a sentencing hearing in criminal cases

In this context, the minor child is legally handed probation to observe.

For example, in Washoe County, Nevada, the dispositional hearing will be held a few weeks after the adjudicatory hearing where the court considers the overall state and condition of the child, considers the social worker’s reports, school progress, mental and physical health of the child, among other things, to render a decision.

The social worker will also make recommendations as to the services and activities that child needs or should do.

What happens at a dispositional hearing

During the disposition hearing, the court may decide on a variety of matters relating to the case.

Some of the common decisions made by the court related to:

  • The children’s domicile 
  • Custody of minor children 
  • Services required by the family
  • Services required by the children 

During the hearing, the parties, parents and relevant stakeholders are given the opportunity to provide their views.

At the end of the hearing, the court will decide where the child will live and determine the social service’s role in helping the child and the child’s family achieve the goals set out by the court.

What are the applicable rules

Every court will have its own rules governing the dispositional hearing in family court or juvenile court.

Here are some examples of rules that can apply:

You’ll need to look up the appropriate sections of the law to get details and specifics on the applicable rule.

Dispositional review hearings 

A dispositional review hearing (or intermediate disposition hearing) is a hearing held allowing the court to review the progress of the child, family, and stakeholders in complying with the orders of disposition.

In the review hearing, the court will evaluate the need of the child and the appropriateness of how things are evolving for the child.

In cases where a child was not removed from the home, the court evaluates the family’s progress in dealing with the orders of the court.

In cases where the child was placed in foster care, the court evaluates the child and parents’ progress to see if the child can return home or should continue to stay under the jurisdiction of the court.


So what is the legal definition of Dispositional Hearing?

What is a disposition hearing in court?

Let’s look at a summary of our findings.

Dispositional Hearing:

  • A disposition hearing is generally held after an adjudicatory hearing where the court determines how to deal with a child who is found to be abused or neglected
  • Every state will have its own juvenile laws dealing with disposition hearing or intermediate disposition hearing
  • At the hearing, the court will consider the social worker or social services’ report and recommendations
  • The court may render an order to keep the child with its parents or place the child in foster care
Adjudicatory hearing
Court hearing 
Court order
Disposition Date
Disposition Hearing
Disposition of Dismissal
Dispositive Clause
Dispositive Motion
Dispossessory Warrant
Evidentiary hearing 
Jurisdictional hearing
Notice of hearing
Permanency hearing 
Rules of evidence


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