Child sexual abuse allegations
Child sexual abuse allegations arising in a divorce and custody conflicts are complicated and difficult. According to an article by Hollida Wakefield and Ralph Underwager they assert that when allegations are brought up in a divorce during custody hearings the odds are high they are false allegations. With evaluations of cases with suspected sexual abuse the professional must keep open and remain objective. They must carefully examine each case and take a more scientific look.
Assessment and evaluation must be done with rigorous adherence to the highest standards of the profession and professionals must look for the characteristics of real versus false allegations. They must also be careful not to dismiss an allegation as false because the parents are going through a divorce, but must also guard against presuming guilt and putting their selves in the position for fitting into the reporting parents plan which might not be all that worthy (Wakefield & Underwager, 1991).
In any suspected case of sexual abuse or neglect of a child must be reported to the Minnesota Department of Human Service. The Attorney Generals Office cannot intervene with this issue. Dept. of Human Services has that authority. If it is an emergency then the local police department will be notified and a report will be made. The purpose of this service is for the protection of children from among other things sexual abuse. It will be through this agency that modifications of custody and visitation will be decided by the judge with the recommendation from police and Human Service representatives or case workers.
If warranted visitation for the accused parent will terminated until a further investigation is complete Diane’s only options for relief would be through this system. If Diane decided to take things into her own hands then Diane would possibly be jailed for refusing to allow George her ex-husband visitation. This is with any type of contempt of court. Whether George was guilty or not, if the court ordered visitation it must be honored. If Mary had falsely reported the allegations of falsely reporting child abuse she could be guilty of a misdemeanor.
If Mary was ordered to do something like disclose where Mary is, the length of time would be decided by the Judge. She could be jailed immediately up to a time Mary would want to comply by giving the information (www. ag. state. mn. us). I noticed that Diane had received sole custody; this would give me an indication that perhaps her claims have some weight. Because with Sole custody rights are given to one parent complete child custody privileges and responsibilities and deny this right to the other parent.
Sole custody rights are typically granted to one parent when the other is shown to be unfit for parenting. Some examples are history of violence or destructive behavior, placing the child in dangerous situations, mental instability, drug or alcohol abuse and other things along this path. When one parent shows characteristics and has behavior that would compromise the best interests of the children, the court will then give sole custody rights to the other parent (http://ros. leg. mn7). A parent that is not awarded physical custody will have a visitation schedule.
If both parents cannot come up with an appropriate schedule the Judge in the case will. In Minnesota Statues the term “parenting time” is used and “visitation” has been removed. Judges set “parenting time” according to reports and investigations and can order that visitation be monitored or unsupervised. It would depend on evidence that was presented at the time of the hearing. Modifications in visitation must be petitioned to court in order to change visitation in anyway if one parent does not agree. In order to do this Diane must provide proof from doctors or specialist to prove her allegations.
Minnesota law gives custody and visitation rights on the basis of what would be in the child’s best interest (Minn. Stat 518. 17, subd. 1 (2006)). There are certain criteria the courts must follow when making a decision of what would be for the best interest of the child (http://www. ag. state. mn. us). Diane must go to her attorney to have custody modified. But it will be the Department of Human Services who can give Diane immediate relief from allowing George any kind of visitation until more information and an investigation can be completed.
Part of this information gathering and investigation would be interviewing Mary on what happened. Minnesota has guidelines that all professionals that deal with sexual abuse that must be follow in order for it to be legally credible and must be completed by an expert that handles child sexual abuse. There are strict guidelines that are mandated across the nation that give the same rules that all states usually follow when dealing with the family issue of child custody and visitation rights.
To ensure that they will be enforced no matter where the child or parent resides with less room for confusion, in Ohio I found that the questions asked would have been answered the same way. Uniformed guidelines to these issues are necessary to protect everyone especially the children (Wakefield & Underwager, 1991). Reference: Minnesota Office of the Revision of Statues, <http://ros. leg. mn7> The Office of Attorney General Lori Swanson, <http://www. ag. state. mn. us> Wakefield, H. , & Underwood, R. , (1991, autumn). Sexual abuse allegations in divorce and custody disputes. Behavioral Sciences and the law, 9(4), p. 451-468.Sample Essay of AssignmentExpert.com