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Tänk om det var ett försök att skydda? - Om befarat umgängessabotage, risker och konsekvenser

Löfberg Nilsson, Aila LU (2017) JURM02 20171
Department of Law
Abstract
When two parents separate, they must agree upon custody, residence and access for their common children. In cases where the parents are not successful in reaching an agreement, the Court can settle the dispute for them. The legal provisions relating to custody, residence and access are regulated in the Parental Code Chapter 6 and all decisions must be taken according to the best interests of the child. In a case of custody, residence and access, the Court also has a statutory investigation obligation. The investigation aims at protecting the child's interests and at ensuring that the decisions are consistent with the best interests of the child.

The principle of the best interests of the child, is found in international, as well as in... (More)
When two parents separate, they must agree upon custody, residence and access for their common children. In cases where the parents are not successful in reaching an agreement, the Court can settle the dispute for them. The legal provisions relating to custody, residence and access are regulated in the Parental Code Chapter 6 and all decisions must be taken according to the best interests of the child. In a case of custody, residence and access, the Court also has a statutory investigation obligation. The investigation aims at protecting the child's interests and at ensuring that the decisions are consistent with the best interests of the child.

The principle of the best interests of the child, is found in international, as well as in national law and this principle nowadays permeates Swedish legislation on the child. Within the principle, there are several aspects of what a child needs and is entitled to. This paper, in particular, highlights two parts of the principle of the best interests of the child. For one thing, the child has a need for a close and a good contact with his or her parents, but the child also has an unconditional right not to be harmed. The child must never be exposed to mental, physical or any other kind of abuse. In some cases, a balance must be kept between these two parts, as the actual parent might be the one harming the child. According to the Court's investigative obligation, the Court must always make a risk assessment. A child's access to a parent must never mean that the child is in danger of being harmed.

In Sweden, approximately 150,000 children live in homes where violence occurs. Studies show, that children are not only harmed by witnessing domestic violence, but are also at risk of being exposed to it. Investigations show, that the Court in some cases relates violence to the separation between the parents. As a consequence, the Court does not make a risk assessment, because the risk is no longer considered to exist, when the parents have separated.

The parent, who is the legal guardian of the child, has an obligation to facilitate the child's access to the other parent. Visitation sabotage means to counteract such an access, without a reasonable justification. An established visitation sabotage may lead to the transfer of custody to the other parent, as children have a right to a close and a good contact with both parents. However, the right of access will have to yield, if the child is at risk of being harmed because of the access. This balance is discussed in this essay.

The methods used in this essay, are a legal dogmatic and a qualitative method. The first part of this paper investigates and challenges the established law regarding custody, residence and access, with particular attention to access rights and visitation sabotage. The second part of the essay, consists of a compilation of five interviews with professional judges and investigators. The purpose of the interviews, is to give an understanding of how the law is applied in practice.

The essay problematises today’s strong emphasis on the child's need for a close and a good contact with its parents. When the main rule is the parent’s access to the child, the level of risk required for restricted access, may be too high.

The main issue in this work is to find out how well cases of custody, residence and access are being investigated. Furthermore, I want to look into how much the risk of the child being harmed, is taken into account. The majority of investigations show, that the assessment of the best interests of the child, is based on presumptions, instead of being a truly unique assessment, based on the individual child. An explanation for this is, that the professional groups working with custody, residence and access, lack the education and knowledge required for these issues. As a consequence, this knowledge deficiency first of all carries a risk of making judgement a rigorous application of the law and, secondly, that certain risks are misjudged. A specific question in this essay is, how the risk of the child is judged by the Court and by the Social Welfare Board, when it comes to domestic violence. Explaining the violence by referring to an upsetting separation or to the parent's conflict, causes a risk of the Court not taking it into consideration at all. (Less)
Abstract (Swedish)
När två föräldrar separerar, måste de komma överens om vårdnad, boende och umgänge för deras gemensamma barn. I de fall föräldrarna inte kan nå en överenskommelse, kan domstol istället avgöra tvisten. De bestämmelser som rör vårdnad, boende och umgänge finns reglerade i 6 kap. FB och alla beslut ska fattas i enlighet med barnets bästa. Domstolen har i mål avseende vårdnad, boende och umgänge även en lagstadgad utredningsskyldighet. Utredningsskyldigheten syftar till att skydda barnets intressen och se till att besluten är förenliga med barnets bästa.

Principen om barnets bästa återfinns i både internationell och nationell rätt och genomsyrar idag den svenska lagstiftningen kring barnet. Inom principen ryms flera aspekter av vad ett barn... (More)
När två föräldrar separerar, måste de komma överens om vårdnad, boende och umgänge för deras gemensamma barn. I de fall föräldrarna inte kan nå en överenskommelse, kan domstol istället avgöra tvisten. De bestämmelser som rör vårdnad, boende och umgänge finns reglerade i 6 kap. FB och alla beslut ska fattas i enlighet med barnets bästa. Domstolen har i mål avseende vårdnad, boende och umgänge även en lagstadgad utredningsskyldighet. Utredningsskyldigheten syftar till att skydda barnets intressen och se till att besluten är förenliga med barnets bästa.

Principen om barnets bästa återfinns i både internationell och nationell rätt och genomsyrar idag den svenska lagstiftningen kring barnet. Inom principen ryms flera aspekter av vad ett barn har behov av och rätt till. Denna uppsats belyser särskilt två delar av principen om barnets bästa. Barnet har dels ett behov av en nära och god kontakt med sina föräldrar, dels en ovillkorlig rätt att inte fara illa. Barnet får aldrig utsättas för psykisk eller fysisk misshandel, inte heller för andra former av övergrepp. I vissa fall måste en avvägning ske mellan dessa två delar, då föräldern i sig kan utgöra en risk att barnet far illa. Inom domstolens utredningsskyldighet ryms därmed även att domstolen alltid måste göra en riskbedömning. Barnets umgänge med en förälder får aldrig innebära att barnet riskerar att fara illa.

I Sverige lever ungefär 150 000 barn i hem där det förekommer våld. Studier visar att barn både far illa av att bevittna våldet i hemmet och själva riskerar att bli utsatta för det. I utredningar har framkommit att domstol i vissa fall ser våldet som en del av separationen mellan föräldrarna. Följden blir då att domstol inte vidtar en riskbedömning, eftersom risken inte anses föreligga efter att föräldrarna separerat.

Den förälder som står som vårdnadshavare för barnet, har en skyldighet att underlätta barnets umgänge med den andra föräldern. Umgängessabotage innebär att utan godtagbara skäl motverka ett sådant umgänge. Ett konstaterat umgängessabotage kan leda till att vårdnaden förflyttas till den andra föräldern, då barn har en rätt till en nära och god kontakt med båda föräldrar. Rätten till umgänge ska dock ge vika om barnet riskerar att fara illa av umgänget. Denna avvägning avhandlas i den här uppsatsen.

Uppsatsen är skriven utifrån både en rättsdogmatisk och en kvalitativ metod. Den första delen av uppsatsen utreder och problematiserar gällande rätt avseende vårdnad, boende och umgänge, med särskild inriktning på umgängesrätt och umgängessabotage. Uppsatsens andra del består av fem sammanställda intervjuer med yrkesverksamma domare respektive utredare. Syftet med intervjuerna är att ge en förståelse för hur lagen tillämpas i praktiken.

I uppsatsen problematiseras den starka betoning, som idag läggs på barnets behov av en nära och god kontakt med sina föräldrar. När huvudregeln är att umgänge med barnet tillerkänns föräldern, kan den risknivå som krävs för att umgänget ska begränsas vara för högt ställd.

Huvudfrågan i det här arbetet är hur väl mål avseende vårdnad, boende och umgänge utreds och i hur hög grad hänsyn tas till risken att barnet far illa. Flertalet utredningar visar att bedömningen av barnets bästa utgår från presumtioner, istället för att vara en verkligt individuell bedömning utifrån det enskilda barnet. En förklaring, till hur lagstiftningen tillämpas idag, är att de yrkesgrupper som arbetar med dessa mål, inte har den utbildning och kunskap som frågorna kräver. Följden av denna kunskapsbrist riskerar dels att bli en stelbent tillämpning av lagen, dels att vissa risker missbedöms. I uppsatsen ifrågasätts särskilt hur risken för barnet bedöms av domstol och socialnämnd, när det har förekommit våld i hemmet. Förklaringen att våldet beror på en uppslitande separation eller föräldrarnas konflikt, leder till att den risk för barnet som en våldsam förälder utgör, inte får betydelse för domstolens bedömning. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Löfberg Nilsson, Aila LU
supervisor
organization
alternative title
What if it was an attempt to protect? - Concerning visitation sabotage, risks and consequences
course
JURM02 20171
year
type
H3 - Professional qualifications (4 Years - )
subject
keywords
umgängesrätt, familjerätt, socialrätt, vårdnad, umgängessabotage, boende, barnets bästa, umgänge, risk, riskbedömning, utredningsskyldighet, barnrätt
language
Swedish
id
8908696
date added to LUP
2017-06-08 11:23:44
date last changed
2017-06-08 11:23:44
@misc{8908696,
  abstract     = {When two parents separate, they must agree upon custody, residence and access for their common children. In cases where the parents are not successful in reaching an agreement, the Court can settle the dispute for them. The legal provisions relating to custody, residence and access are regulated in the Parental Code Chapter 6 and all decisions must be taken according to the best interests of the child. In a case of custody, residence and access, the Court also has a statutory investigation obligation. The investigation aims at protecting the child's interests and at ensuring that the decisions are consistent with the best interests of the child.

The principle of the best interests of the child, is found in international, as well as in national law and this principle nowadays permeates Swedish legislation on the child. Within the principle, there are several aspects of what a child needs and is entitled to. This paper, in particular, highlights two parts of the principle of the best interests of the child. For one thing, the child has a need for a close and a good contact with his or her parents, but the child also has an unconditional right not to be harmed. The child must never be exposed to mental, physical or any other kind of abuse. In some cases, a balance must be kept between these two parts, as the actual parent might be the one harming the child. According to the Court's investigative obligation, the Court must always make a risk assessment. A child's access to a parent must never mean that the child is in danger of being harmed.

In Sweden, approximately 150,000 children live in homes where violence occurs. Studies show, that children are not only harmed by witnessing domestic violence, but are also at risk of being exposed to it. Investigations show, that the Court in some cases relates violence to the separation between the parents. As a consequence, the Court does not make a risk assessment, because the risk is no longer considered to exist, when the parents have separated.

The parent, who is the legal guardian of the child, has an obligation to facilitate the child's access to the other parent. Visitation sabotage means to counteract such an access, without a reasonable justification. An established visitation sabotage may lead to the transfer of custody to the other parent, as children have a right to a close and a good contact with both parents. However, the right of access will have to yield, if the child is at risk of being harmed because of the access. This balance is discussed in this essay.

The methods used in this essay, are a legal dogmatic and a qualitative method. The first part of this paper investigates and challenges the established law regarding custody, residence and access, with particular attention to access rights and visitation sabotage. The second part of the essay, consists of a compilation of five interviews with professional judges and investigators. The purpose of the interviews, is to give an understanding of how the law is applied in practice.

The essay problematises today’s strong emphasis on the child's need for a close and a good contact with its parents. When the main rule is the parent’s access to the child, the level of risk required for restricted access, may be too high.

The main issue in this work is to find out how well cases of custody, residence and access are being investigated. Furthermore, I want to look into how much the risk of the child being harmed, is taken into account. The majority of investigations show, that the assessment of the best interests of the child, is based on presumptions, instead of being a truly unique assessment, based on the individual child. An explanation for this is, that the professional groups working with custody, residence and access, lack the education and knowledge required for these issues. As a consequence, this knowledge deficiency first of all carries a risk of making judgement a rigorous application of the law and, secondly, that certain risks are misjudged. A specific question in this essay is, how the risk of the child is judged by the Court and by the Social Welfare Board, when it comes to domestic violence. Explaining the violence by referring to an upsetting separation or to the parent's conflict, causes a risk of the Court not taking it into consideration at all.},
  author       = {Löfberg Nilsson, Aila},
  keyword      = {umgängesrätt,familjerätt,socialrätt,vårdnad,umgängessabotage,boende,barnets bästa,umgänge,risk,riskbedömning,utredningsskyldighet,barnrätt},
  language     = {swe},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Tänk om det var ett försök att skydda? - Om befarat umgängessabotage, risker och konsekvenser},
  year         = {2017},
}