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HB 0369 - Domestic relations; child custody proceedings; provisions

Tracking Level: Passed
Sponsor: Rice,Tom 51st
Last Action: 5/29/2007 - House Date Signed by Governor
House Committee: Judy
Senate Committee: JUDY
Assigned To:
05. Superior CourtsNext Bill
07. Juvenile CourtsNext Bill

Staff Analysis of the Legislation

Amend Article 2 of Chapter 5 of Title 5 and Chapter 9 of Title 19.  Relating to appellate practice and child custody proceedings.  Appeals may be taken to the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals in all judgments or orders in child custody cases including, but not limited to, awarding or refusing to change child custody or holding or declining to hold persons in contempt of such child custody judgment or orders.  Added a new case type to appeals that shall be taken as provided in this Code section: Appeals from orders terminating parental rights.  The �Domestic Relations Case Filing Information Form� is edited to include: under Case Type, subsection Divorce, Contested, Child Custody Issue, or Child Support Issue; under Modification, subsection Custody, Parenting Time, Does the modification include a parent selection by a child who is at least 14 years of age?; under Other, have the parties agreed to binding arbitration?, Have the parties reached a custodial agreement? If yes, is custody joint, joint legal, joint physical, or sole, financial affidavit submitted?, and child support forms submitted?  The �Domestic Relations Case Final Disposition Information Form� is edited to include under Relief Granted, subsection Child Custody, parenting plan included, custodial arrangement, fourteen year old made parental selection, visitation or parenting time, and forms attached; under ADR, was there an agreement to binding arbitration, finding of family violence, attorney�s fees.  Eliminates 19-9-1 in its entirety and inserts new text. 


Except when a parent seeks emergency relief for family violence, in all cases in which the custody of any child is at issue between the parents, each parent shall prepare a parenting plan or the parties may jointly submit a plan.  If parties cannot agree on a plan, each party shall file a plan on or before the date set by the judge.  Failure to comply may result in the judge adopting the plan of the opposing party.  In all proceedings under this article, it shall be permissible for the parents to agree to binding arbitration on the issue of child custody and matters relative to visitation and a parenting plan.   There shall be no presumption in favor of any particular form of custody nor in favor of either parent.  Joint custody may be considered as an alternative form of custody by the judge.  Judge shall make a determination of custody and such matter shall not be decided by a jury.   In determining the best interests of the child, the judge may consider any relevant factor.  The judge shall have complete discretion in making this determination, and the child�s desires shall not be controlling.     


In determining the best interests of the child, the judge may consider any relevant factor (example factors are listed in the bill).  In all custody cases where the child has reached the age of 11 the judge shall consider the desires and educational needs of the child in determining which parent shall have custody.  The judge shall have complete discretion in making this determination and the child�s desires shall not be controlling.

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