Dispositional hearings are hearings held by the juvenile and family court to determine the legal resolution of cases after adjudication. Dispositional hearings may decide questions such as: where the children will live for the time being, who will have legal custody of them, and what services the children and family will need to reduce the risk and to address the effects of maltreatment.
In juvenile delinquency cases the dispositional hearing is equivalent to a sentencing hearing in a adult court where the minor is usually placed on probation.
The following is an example of a state statute (Colorado) defining the term:
According to C.R.S. 19-1-103, ‘dispositional hearing’ means a hearing to determine what order of disposition should be made concerning a child who is neglected or dependent. Such hearing may be part of the proceeding that includes the adjudicatory hearing, or it may be held at a time subsequent to the adjudicatory hearing.