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1986 Minnesota Session Laws

Key: (1) language to be deleted (2) new language

  

                         Laws of Minnesota 1986 

                        CHAPTER 469-S.F.No. 2102 
           An act relating to marriage dissolution and legal 
          separation; requiring appointment of guardians ad 
          litem in certain child custody proceedings; amending 
          Minnesota Statutes 1984, section 518.165; and 
          Minnesota Statutes 1985 Supplement, section 626.556, 
          subdivision 2. 
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA: 
    Section 1.  Minnesota Statutes 1984, section 518.165, is 
amended to read: 
    518.165 [GUARDIANS FOR MINOR CHILDREN.] 
    Subdivision 1.  [PERMISSIVE APPOINTMENT OF GUARDIAN AD 
LITEM.] In all proceedings for child custody or for dissolution 
or legal separation where custody or visitation of a minor child 
is in issue, the court may appoint a guardian ad litem from a 
panel established by the court to represent the interests of the 
child.  The guardian ad litem shall advise the court with 
respect to custody, support and visitation.  The court may enter 
an order for costs, fees and disbursements in favor of the 
child's guardian ad litem.  The order may be made against either 
or both parties, except that any part of the costs, fees, and 
disbursements which the court finds the parties are incapable of 
paying shall be borne by the county. 
    Subd. 2.  [REQUIRED APPOINTMENT OF GUARDIAN AD LITEM.] In 
all proceedings for child custody or for marriage dissolution or 
legal separation in which custody or visitation of a minor child 
is an issue, if the court has reason to believe that the minor 
child is a victim of domestic child abuse or neglect, as those 
terms are defined in sections 260.015 and 626.556, respectively, 
the court shall appoint a guardian ad litem.  The guardian ad 
litem shall represent the interests of the child and advise the 
court with respect to custody, support, and visitation.  If the 
child is represented by a guardian ad litem in any other pending 
proceeding, the court may appoint that guardian to represent the 
child in the custody or visitation proceeding.  No guardian ad 
litem need be appointed if the alleged domestic child abuse or 
neglect is before the court on a juvenile dependency and neglect 
petition.  Nothing in this subdivision requires the court to 
appoint a guardian ad litem in any proceeding for child custody, 
marriage dissolution, or legal separation in which an allegation 
of domestic child abuse or neglect has not been made. 
    Subd. 3.  [FEES.] A guardian ad litem appointed under 
either subdivision 1 or 2 may be appointed either as a volunteer 
or on a fee basis.  If a guardian ad litem is appointed on a fee 
basis, the court shall enter an order for costs, fees, and 
disbursements in favor of the child's guardian ad litem.  The 
order may be made against either or both parties, except that 
any part of the costs, fees, or disbursements which the court 
finds the parties are incapable of paying shall be borne by the 
county in which the proceeding is being held.  In no event may 
the court order that costs, fees, or disbursements be paid by a 
party receiving public assistance or legal assistance or by a 
party whose annual income falls below the poverty line as 
established under United States Code, title 42, section 9902 (2).
    Sec. 2.  Minnesota Statutes 1985 Supplement, section 
626.556, subdivision 2, is amended to read:  
    Subd. 2.  [DEFINITIONS.] As used in this section, the 
following terms have the meanings given them unless the specific 
content indicates otherwise: 
    (a) "Sexual abuse" means the subjection by a person 
responsible for the child's care, or by a person in a position 
of authority, as defined in section 609.341, subdivision 10, to 
any act which constitutes a violation of section 609.342, 
609.343, 609.344, or 609.345, or sections 609.364 to 609.3644.  
Sexual abuse also includes any act which involves a minor which 
constitutes a violation of sections 609.321 to 609.324 or 
617.246.  
    (b) "Person responsible for the child's care" means (1) an 
individual functioning within the family unit and having 
responsibilities for the care of the child such as a parent, 
guardian, or other person having similar care responsibilities, 
or (2) an individual functioning outside the family unit and 
having responsibilities for the care of the child such as a 
teacher, school administrator, or other lawful custodian of a 
child having either full-time or short-term care 
responsibilities including, but not limited to, day care, baby 
sitting whether paid or unpaid, counseling, teaching, and 
coaching.  
    (c) "Neglect" means failure by a person responsible for a 
child's care to supply a child with necessary food, clothing, 
shelter or medical care when reasonably able to do so or failure 
to protect a child from conditions or actions which imminently 
and seriously endanger the child's physical or mental health 
when reasonably able to do so.  Nothing in this section shall be 
construed to (1) mean that a child is neglected solely because 
the child's parent, guardian or other person responsible for his 
care in good faith selects and depends upon spiritual means or 
prayer for treatment or care of disease or remedial care of the 
child, or (2) impose upon persons, not otherwise legally 
responsible for providing a child with necessary food, clothing, 
shelter or medical care, a duty to provide that care.  Neglect 
also means "medical neglect" as defined in section 260.015, 
subdivision 10, clause (e). 
     (d) "Physical abuse" means any physical injury inflicted by 
a person responsible for the child's care on a child other than 
by accidental means, or any physical injury that cannot 
reasonably be explained by the child's history of injuries.  
    (e) "Report" means any report received by the local welfare 
agency, police department or county sheriff pursuant to this 
section. 
    (f) "Facility" means a day care facility, residential 
facility, agency, hospital, sanitorium, or other facility or 
institution required to be licensed pursuant to sections 144.50 
to 144.58, 241.021, or 245.781 to 245.812.  
    (g) "Operator" means an operator or agency as defined in 
section 245.782.  
    (h) "Commissioner" means the commissioner of human services.
    (i) "Assessment" includes authority to interview the child, 
the person or persons responsible for the child's care, the 
alleged perpetrator, and any other person with knowledge of the 
abuse or neglect for the purpose of gathering the facts, 
assessing the risk to the child, and formulating a plan.  
    (j) "Practice of social services," for the purposes of 
subdivision 3, includes but is not limited to employee 
assistance counseling and the provision of guardian ad litem 
services.  
    Sec. 3.  [EFFECTIVE DATE.] 
    Section 1 is effective January 1, 1987. 
    Approved April 1, 1986

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