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Israel: Law for Removal of Guardianship from Parents Convicted of Serious Domestic Offenses Adopted

(Jan. 15, 2021) On December 14, 2020, the Knesset (Israel’s parliament) passed legislation to remove guardianship from a parent of a minor child when the parent has been convicted of the murder or attempted murder of the child’s other parent or the parent’s other children, or of raping or sodomizing any of the parent’s children. The new law will affect any parent who is convicted of or indicted for committing any of these offenses beginning January 15, 2021. (Legal Capacity and Guardianship Law (Amendment No. 19), 5781-2020, § 27A(a) & 4(a), Sefer HaHukim [SH, Book of Laws] (official gazette) 5781, No. 2879 p. 142, amending the Legal Capacity and Guardianship Law, SH 5762 No. 380 p. 120, as amended; references here and below are to the Law, as amended.)

The permanent removal of a parent’s guardianship will be ordered upon final conviction of any of the offenses enumerated above; a parent’s acquittal based on lack of mental capacity; or hospitalization or treatment following a judicial determination of the parent’s inability to stand trial. A court may issue such determinations in accordance with the Treatment of Mentally Sick Patients Law 5751-1991. Removal will be ordered upon finding that the parent experienced lack of mental capacity at the time of commission of the offense and continues to experience it, or that presumptive evidence existed that the parent committed the offense but was unable to stand trial. (Law §27 A (c); Treatment of Mentally Sick Patients Law 5751-1991, § 15(a)–(b), SH 5751 No. 1339 p. 58, as amended.)

The court will issue an order for temporary removal of guardianship upon an indictment of a parent for any of the offenses enumerated above. The order will be in effect until the issue of a final judgment for either conviction or acquittal. (Law § 27 A(b).)

The court may order not to remove guardianship under exceptional circumstances and if this is in the child’s best interest. The court may issue a nonremoval order in response to a request by the parent, the minor child, the attorney general or his/her designee after the child has received a qualified social worker assessment in accordance with the Welfare (Procedures Regarding Minors, Mental Patients and Absent Persons) Law, 5715-1955. (Law § 27 A(e); Welfare (Procedures Regarding Minors, Mental Patients and Absent Persons) Law, 5715-1955, SH 5715 No. 197 p. 126, as amended.)

Removal of parental guardianship does not exempt a parent from the duty to pay child support or any other duty imposed on a parent by law. (Law § 27 A(d).)

The new law exempts a caregiver who has been informed that a child’s parent has been convicted of or indicted for a sexual or violent offense against his/her minor child of the need to seek parental consent to medical treatment for the child for the duration of the criminal process. (Law § 27 B.)