In re Marriage of C.D. & G.D.

February 16, 2024

Mother and Father stipulated to the court appointing a private child custody evaluator to make recommendations for a parenting plan that provided for the best interest of the children. The evaluator made it clear that he was not doing an evaluation of sexual abuse allegations under Family Code section 3118. Neither Father nor Mother requested an evaluation under 3118.

At the custody hearing, Mother presented evidence that the minor children had been sexually abused by Father.  Finding that Father abused the minor children and touched them in a sexual manner, the trial court granted Mother full custody, ordered no visitation with Father, and entered a restraining order against Father.

Father appealed, arguing that only an evaluation conducted under Family Code section 3118 could provide the evidentiary basis for the trial court to find that Father abused the minor children. The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court, finding that 1) Father stipulated that a section 3118 evaluation was not necessary so he “invited any error” and 2) the trial court could make a finding of sexual abuse even without a 3118 evaluation by considering all of the evidence presented to the court.

Child Abuse & Protection
Family Law

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