HB723 - DOMESTIC RELATIONS - Dougherty, Patrick
HB723 CHANGES CERTAIN DOMESTIC RELATIONS PROVISIONS TO ALLOW FOR PARENTING PLANS.
Sponsor: Dougherty, Patrick (67) Effective Date:00/00/00
CoSponsor: LR Number:0966-01
Last Action: 05/14/97 - Placed on the Informal Calendar (H)
HCS HB 723, 789 & 372
Next Hearing:Hearing not scheduled
Calendar:Bill currently not on calendar
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BILL SUMMARIES BILL TEXT FISCAL NOTES
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Available Bill Summaries for HB723
| Committee | Introduced |


Available Bill Text for HB723
| Committee | Introduced |

Available Fiscal Notes for HB723
| House Substitute | House Committee Substitute | Introduced |

BILL SUMMARIES

COMMITTEE

HCS HB 723, 789 & 372 -- DOMESTIC RELATIONS

SPONSOR:  Dougherty

COMMITTEE ACTION:  Voted "do pass" by the Committee on Children,
Youth & Families by a vote of 10 to 3 and 2 present.

This substitute changes the law concerning divorce actions and
related proceedings that involve minor children.

In its major provisions, the substitute:

(1)  Substitutes the terms "parenting plan" and "parenting time"
for "custody" and "visitation";

(2)  Requires the court within 60 days to order a temporary
parenting plan when a divorce action is filed if minor children
are involved;

(3)  Provides that it is a class A misdemeanor to intentionally
make, in a divorce proceeding, a false allegation of domestic
violence;

(4)  Requires a person who receives child support beyond the age
of 18 to verify school enrollment and grades if the parent
paying support requests verification;

(5)  Requires judges in judicial or administrative proceedings
to document the specific factors supporting an award of child
support that deviates from the guidelines;

(6) Requires the state courts administrator to develop
simplified forms and instructions for a parent to file a pro se
motion for contempt when the parent has been denied court--
ordered parenting time by the other parent;

(7)  Requires circuit courts to establish a program of
educational sessions for parties to a divorce action involving
minor children.  Courts are also required, except for good
cause, to order parties to attend the educational sessions;

(8)  Requires the Division of Family Services to provide upon
request of a parent of a child receiving Medicaid the
documentation that allows the child to obtain medical services;

(9)  Requires circuit courts to establish a mediation process
for resolving disputes over any issue regarding parenting time.
Courts are allowed to exempt parties from participating in the
mediation program if there is evidence of domestic violence;

(10)  Requires circuit clerks to collect a surcharge of $10 from
any party filing a divorce action.  The surcharge is deposited
in a special fund that is used to reimburse local judicial
circuits for the costs associated with the requirements of the
bill;

(11)  Requires the state courts administrator to develop a
handbook outlining the legal obligations of parties to a divorce
action involving minor children;

(12)  Requires a petitioner in a divorce action involving minor
children to submit a proposed parenting plan that must provide
for the child's physical care, emotional stability, and
financial needs.  The parenting plan must also set forth the
authority and responsibilities of each parent, minimize the
child's exposure to harmful parental conflict, and protect the
best interest of the child;

(13)  Requires the court in divorce actions involving minor
children to approve a permanent parenting plan and to develop a
permanent parenting plan if the parents are unable to resolve
disputes concerning parenting issues.  In addition to other
requirements, the permanent parenting plan must provide for the
resolution of future disputes between the parents;

(14)  Authorizes the court in a divorce proceeding to interview
in chambers any children of the marriage and to seek the written
advice of a professional to assist in determining appropriate
provisions for a parenting plan.  The written advice must be
made available to counsel upon request.  Counsel may cross
examine any professional consulted by the court; and

(15)  Makes it a class A misdemeanor to willfully and
intentionally make a false claim of delinquent child support.

FISCAL NOTE:  Estimated Net Income to General Revenue Fund of
$435,322 to $2,208,640 for FY 1998, $527,154 to $2,643,810 for
FY 1999, and $524, 033 to $2,628,208 for FY 2000.  Partial
Estimated Cost to Domestic Relations Resolution Fund* of
$188,150 for FY 1998, $225,870 for FY 1999, and $225,870 for FY
2000.  *Unknown costs for educational sessions not included in
total.

PROPONENTS:  Supporters say that joint physical custody is
preferable to allowing one parent to have sole physical custody
and the bill is likely to increase the number of parents who
will be awarded joint physical custody.  Because many
noncustodial parents are unable to afford an attorney to enforce
their visitation rights, the bill's provision that allows for an
easier procedure for parents to enforce their visitation rights
is important to ensure children frequent and meaningful contact
with both parents. The bill's provisions regarding mediation and
educational sessions will be a starting place to alleviate some
of the parenting problems that occur after divorce.  Allowing
children meaningful contact with both parents is important in
efforts to reduce juvenile crime because societal standards are
enforced by fathers.  Regarding the provision to criminalize
false claims of overdue child support, supporters say that this
is necessary to prevent claimants from wasting state resources
and harassing obligors.

Testifying for the bill were Representatives Dougherty, Green,
and Hollingsworth; National Congress for Fathers & Children;
Missouri Police Chiefs Association; Division of Child Support
Enforcement; Kathy O'Brien; Scott W. King; and David A. Williams.

OPPONENTS:  Those who oppose the bill say that the bill appears
to mandate awarding joint physical custody to parents.
Mandating joint physical custody is not a good idea because most
divorced parents have a difficult time cooperating.  If the
divorced parents are able to cooperate, current law allows them
to have joint custody.  It is important to retain current
provisions regarding the continuation of support after age 18
because divorced parents are more likely to withhold support for
their children's college expenses for the purpose of harassing
the other parent.

Testifying against the bill were David V. Collignon; Jeanette
Stuenkel; Dee Ann Aull; Cynthia M. Tandy; Marilou Joyner and
Patricia Perkins.

Katharine Hickel, Research Analyst


INTRODUCED

HB 723 -- Domestic Relations

Sponsor:  Dougherty

This bill changes the law concerning divorce actions and related
proceedings that involve minor children.

In its major provisions, the bill:

(1)  Substitutes the terms "parenting plan" and "parenting time"
for "custody" and "visitation";

(2)  Requires the court to immediately order a temporary
parenting plan when a divorce action is filed if minor children
are involved;

(3)  Provides that it is a class A misdemeanor to intentionally
make, in a divorce proceeding, a false allegation of domestic
violence;

(4)  Requires a person who receives child support beyond the age
of 18 to verify school enrollment and grades if the parent
paying support requests verification;

(5)  Requires judges in judicial or administrative proceedings
to document the specific factors supporting an award of child
support that deviates from the guidelines;

(6) Requires the state courts administrator to develop
simplified forms and instructions for a parent to file a pro se
motion for contempt when the parent has been denied court--
ordered parenting time by the other parent;

(7)  Requires circuit courts to establish a program of
educational sessions for parties to a divorce action involving
minor children.  Courts are also required, except for good
cause, to order parties to attend the educational sessions;

(8)  Allows the Division of Child Support Enforcement to order,
when there is good cause, a recipient of child support to
furnish the party paying support a regular summary of expenses
for the child;

(9)  Allows the court to order parties to a divorce action to
participate in a mediation program regarding any issue of
custody or parenting time;

(10)  Requires circuit clerks to collect a surcharge of $10 from
any party filing a divorce action.  The surcharge is deposited
in a special fund that is used to reimburse local judicial
circuits for the costs associated with the requirements of the
bill;

(11)  Requires the state courts administrator to develop a
handbook outlining the legal obligations of parties to a divorce
action involving minor children;

(12)  Requires a petitioner in a divorce action involving minor
children to submit a proposed parenting plan that must provide
for the child's physical care, emotional stability, and changing
needs.  The parenting plan must also set forth the authority and
responsibilities of each parent, minimize the child's exposure
to harmful parental conflict, and protect the best interest of
the child;

(13)  Requires the court in divorce actions involving minor
children to approve a permanent parenting plan.  In addition to
other requirements, the permanent parenting plan must provide
for the resolution of future disputes between the parents,
allocate decision making authority, and provide for the child's
residential arrangements; and

(14)  Authorizes the court in a divorce proceeding to interview
in chambers any children of the marriage and to seek the written
advice of a professional to assist in determining appropriate
provisions for a parenting plan.  The written advice must be
made available to counsel upon request.


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Last Updated August 11, 1997 at 4:19 pm