In cases of alleged sexual abuse, the court will order an extensive investigation into the facts to determine custody and visitation issues. During the pendency of that investigation, the parent against which the allegations are made may still be permitted to see the child, depending on the facts.
In cases where visitation is allowed, the court will appoint a visitation supervisor who will be in close proximity at all times during the visitation. These visitations are unlike other supervised visitations. The rules are strict and the supervisor may appear, at times, to be interfering with the parent/child relationship, but these rules have the best interests of the child in mind given the seriousness of the allegations. For example:
- No exchanges of gifts, money or cards are permitted;
- No pictures may be taken, nor audio or videotapings made;
- Excluded physical contact consists of: lap sitting, hair combing, stroking, hand holding, wrestling, tickling, horse play or diaper changing;
- No accompanying the child to the bathroom;
- No whispering, passing notes, hand or body signals;
- Visitation cannot occur in the venue where the alleged sexual abuse took place.
These rules may seem pejorative at first glance, but an allegation of sexual abuse is a serious one, and, if visitation is allowed, the supervisor is tasked with taking all steps necessary to protect the child.
Following a thorough investigation, the court will be provided with a comprehensive report with findings and recommendations for the court. The court will then make orders regarding custody and visitation based upon information contained in the report and testimony presented at trial, if a trial is held. The primary consideration of the court in making the custody orders will be, as always, the best interest of the child.
Getting Legal Help
Experienced Sacramento Family Law Attorney Hal Bartholomew can help you navigate your divorce and child custody issues with respect and compassion. Contact Bartholomew & Wasznicky LLP today for knowledgeable and respectful representation. Call us at (916) 455-5200 or email us at info@DivorceWithRespect.com