Bill Text: CA SB1511 | 2017-2018 | Regular Session | Amended


Bill Title: Family law omnibus bill.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (? 1-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2018-05-15 - Set for hearing June 12. [SB1511 Detail]

Download: California-2017-SB1511-Amended.html

Amended  IN  Senate  May 14, 2018

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2017–2018 REGULAR SESSION

Senate Bill No. 1511


Introduced by Committee on Judiciary (Senators Jackson (Chair), Anderson, Hertzberg, Monning, Moorlach, Stern, and Wieckowski)

April 10, 2018


An act to amend Sections 400, 3111, 3901, and 5614 of, and to repeal and add Section 17311.7 of, the Family Code, and to amend Section 70677 of, and to add Section 69619.7 to, the Government Code, relating to family law, and declaring the urgency thereof, to take effect immediately.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SB 1511, as amended, Committee on Judiciary. Family law omnibus bill.
(1) Existing law generally authorizes commissioners of civil marriages, including retired and deputy commissioners of civil marriages, to solemnize a marriage. Existing law imposes misdemeanor penalties on a commissioner of civil marriages who accepts money or other value for solemnizing a marriage, unless the marriage is solemnized on a Saturday, Sunday, or a legal holiday. Existing law also authorizes a commissioner of civil marriages to solemnize a marriage for reasonable compensation.
This bill would clarify that a commissioner of civil marriages may accept reasonable compensation for a marriage he or she solemnizes on a Saturday, Sunday, or a legal holiday.

(2)Existing law authorizes the court to appoint a child custody evaluator to conduct a child custody evaluation in a contested proceeding involving child custody or visitation rights.

This bill would specify that the court is authorized to appoint a child custody evaluator to conduct the child custody evaluation pursuant to provisions relating to child custody evaluators, mediators, or expert witnesses.

(3)

(2) Existing law continues the parental duty to support an unmarried child who has attained 18 years of age, is a full-time high school student, and who is not self-supporting, until the time the child completes the 12th grade or attains 19 years of age, whichever occurs first.
This bill would excuse a child from the requirement to be a full-time high school student for purposes of these provisions if the child has a medical condition documented by a physician that prevents full-time school attendance.

(4)

(3) Existing law provides various procedures for the collection of child support and establishes, within the Department of Child Support Services, the State Disbursement Unit for the collection and disbursement of payments pursuant to support orders. Existing law also provides for the collection of child support by private child support collectors and requires those entities to take specified actions, including establishing a direct deposit account with the State Disbursement Unit and, within 2 business days from the date the funds are disbursed from the State Disbursement Unit to the private child support collector, if a portion of the funds constitute an obligor’s fee, to notify the department of the portion of each collection that constitutes a fee.
This bill would remove the requirement that a private child support collector establish a direct deposit account with the State Disbursement Unit and would remove the notification requirement. The bill, to the extent allowed by federal law, would require any payment required to be made to a family through the State Disbursement Unit under the state plan to be made directly to the resident parent, legal guardian, or caretaker relative who has custody of or responsibility for the child, judicially appointed conservator with a legal and fiduciary duty to the parent and child, or alternate caretaker, as defined.
The bill would also remove requirements relating to the transfer of child support collection and distribution functions to the state, including a requirement that all child support collections remaining undisbursed, with interest earned on these funds, be transferred to the department for deposit in the Child Support Payment Trust Fund.

(5)

(4) Existing law specifies the number of judges of the superior court for each county, and allocates additional judgeships to the various counties in accordance with uniform standards for factually determining additional need in each county, as approved by the Judicial Council, and other specified criteria. Existing law provides for the conversion of 146 subordinate judicial officer positions in eligible superior courts upon the occurrence of specified conditions, including that the proposed action is ratified by the Legislature, except that no more than 16 positions may be converted to judgeships in any fiscal year. Notwithstanding this provision, existing law authorizes up to 10 additional subordinate judicial officer positions to be converted to judgeships in any fiscal year if the conversions will result in a judge being assigned to a family law or juvenile law assignment previously presided over by a subordinate judicial officer and the proposed action is ratified by the Legislature.
This bill would ratify the authority of the Judicial Council to convert 10 subordinate judicial officer positions to judgeships in the 2018–19 fiscal year when the conversion will result in a judge being assigned to a family law or juvenile law assignment previously presided over by a subordinate judicial officer.

(6)

(5) The Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA) governs the establishment, enforcement, and modification of interstate child and spousal support orders by providing jurisdictional standards and rules for determining which state’s order is a controlling order and whether a tribunal of this state may exercise continuing, exclusive jurisdiction over a support proceeding.
This bill would specify, beginning on July 1, 2018, that certain court filings made in accordance with UIFSA are exempt from a requirement to pay a filing fee.

(7)

(6) This bill also makes technical, nonsubstantive changes to these provisions.

(8)

(7) This bill would declare that it is to take effect immediately as an urgency statute.
Vote: 2/3   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 Section 400 of the Family Code is amended to read:

400.
 (a) Although marriage is a personal relation arising out of a civil, and not a religious, contract, a marriage may be solemnized by a priest, minister, rabbi, or authorized person of any religious denomination who is 18 years of age or older. A person authorized by this subdivision shall not be required to solemnize a marriage that is contrary to the tenets of his or her faith. Any refusal to solemnize a marriage under this subdivision, either by an individual or by a religious denomination, shall not affect the tax-exempt status of any entity.
(b) Consistent with Sections 94.5 and 70.5 of the Penal Code and provided that any compensation received is reasonable, including payment of actual expenses, a marriage may also be solemnized by any of the following persons:
(1) A judge or retired judge, commissioner of civil marriages or retired commissioner of civil marriages, commissioner or retired commissioner, or assistant commissioner of a court of record in this state.
(2) A judge or magistrate who has resigned from office.
(3) Any of the following judges or magistrates of the United States:
(A) A justice or retired justice of the United States Supreme Court.
(B) A judge or retired judge of a court of appeals, a district court, or a court created by an act of the United States Congress the judges of which are entitled to hold office during good behavior.
(C) A judge or retired judge of a bankruptcy court or a tax court.
(D) A United States magistrate or retired magistrate.
(c) Except as provided in subdivision (d), a marriage may also be solemnized by any of the following persons who are 18 years of age or older:
(1) A Member of the Legislature or constitutional officer of this state or a Member of Congress of the United States who represents a district within this state, or a former Member of the Legislature or constitutional officer of this state or a former Member of Congress of the United States who represented a district within this state.
(2) A person that holds or formerly held an elected office of a city, county, or city and county.
(3) A city clerk of a charter city or serving in accordance with subdivision (b) of Section 36501 of the Government Code, while that person holds office.
(d) (1) Except as provided in subdivision (b), a person listed in subdivision (c) shall not accept compensation for solemnizing a marriage while holding office.
(2) A person listed in subdivision (c) shall not solemnize a marriage pursuant to this section if they have been removed from office due to committing an offense or have been convicted of an offense that involves moral turpitude, dishonesty, or fraud.

SEC. 2.Section 3111 of the Family Code is amended to read:
3111.

(a)In any contested proceeding involving child custody or visitation rights, the court may appoint a child custody evaluator pursuant to Sections 3110, 3111, 3180, and 3183 or Section 730 of the Evidence Code to conduct a child custody evaluation in cases where the court determines it is in the best interests of the child. The child custody evaluation shall be conducted in accordance with the standards adopted by the Judicial Council pursuant to Section 3117, and all other standards adopted by the Judicial Council regarding child custody evaluations. If directed by the court, the court-appointed child custody evaluator shall file a written confidential report on his or her evaluation. At least 10 days before any hearing regarding custody of the child, the report shall be filed with the clerk of the court in which the custody hearing will be conducted and served on the parties or their attorneys, and any other counsel appointed for the child pursuant to Section 3150. A child custody evaluation, investigation, or assessment, and any resulting report, may be considered by the court only if it is conducted in accordance with the requirements set forth in the standards adopted by the Judicial Council pursuant to Section 3117; however, this does not preclude the consideration of a child custody evaluation report that contains nonsubstantive or inconsequential errors or both.

(b)The report shall not be made available other than as provided in subdivision (a) or Section 3025.5, or as described in Section 204 of the Welfare and Institutions Code or Section 1514.5 of the Probate Code. Any information obtained from access to a juvenile court case file, as defined in subdivision (e) of Section 827 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, is confidential and shall only be disseminated as provided by paragraph (4) of subdivision (a) of Section 827 of the Welfare and Institutions Code.

(c)The report may be received in evidence on stipulation of all interested parties and is competent evidence as to all matters contained in the report.

(d)If the court determines that an unwarranted disclosure of a written confidential report has been made, the court may impose a monetary sanction against the disclosing party. The sanction shall be in an amount sufficient to deter repetition of the conduct, and may include reasonable attorney’s fees, costs incurred, or both, unless the court finds that the disclosing party acted with substantial justification or that other circumstances make the imposition of the sanction unjust. The court shall not impose a sanction pursuant to this subdivision that imposes an unreasonable financial burden on the party against whom the sanction is imposed. This subdivision shall become operative on January 1, 2010.

(e)The Judicial Council shall, by January 1, 2010, do the following:

(1)Adopt a form to be served with every child custody evaluation report that informs the report recipient of the confidentiality of the report and the potential consequences for the unwarranted disclosure of the report.

(2)Adopt a rule of court to require that, when a court-ordered child custody evaluation report is served on the parties, the form specified in paragraph (1) shall be included with the report.

(f)For purposes of this section, a disclosure is unwarranted if it is done either recklessly or maliciously, and is not in the best interests of the child.

SEC. 3.SEC. 2.

 Section 3901 of the Family Code is amended to read:

3901.
 (a) (1) The duty of support imposed by Section 3900 continues as to an unmarried child who has attained 18 years of age, is a full-time high school student, unless excused pursuant to paragraph (2), and who is not self-supporting, until the time the child completes the 12th grade or attains 19 years of age, whichever occurs first.
(2) A child is excused from the requirement to be a full-time high school student for purposes of paragraph (1) if the child has a medical condition documented by a physician that prevents full-time school attendance.
(b) Nothing in this section limits a parent’s ability to agree to provide additional support or the court’s power to inquire whether an agreement to provide additional support has been made.

SEC. 4.SEC. 3.

 Section 5614 of the Family Code is amended to read:

5614.
 (a) A private child support collector shall do all of the following:
(1) (A) Provide to an obligee all of the following information:
(i) The name of, and any other identifying information relating to, an obligor who made child support payments collected by the private child support collector.
(ii) The amount of support collected by the private child support collector.
(iii) The date on which each amount was received by the private child support collector.
(iv) The date on which each amount received by the private child support collector was sent to the obligee.
(v) The amount of the payment sent to the obligee.
(vi) The source of payment of support collected and the actions affirmatively taken by the private child support collector that resulted in the payment.
(vii) The amount and percentage of each payment kept by the private child support collector as its fee.
(B) The information required by paragraph (A) shall be made available, at the option of the obligee, by mail, telephone, or via secure Internet access. If provided by mail, the notice shall be sent at least quarterly and, if provided by any other method, the information shall be updated and made available at least monthly. Information accessed by telephone and the Internet shall be up to date.
(2) Maintain records of all child support collections made on behalf of a client who is an obligee. The records required under this section shall be maintained by the private child support collector for the duration of the contract plus a period of four years and four months from the date of the last child support payment collected by the private child support collector on behalf of an obligee. In addition to information required by paragraph (1), the private child support collector shall maintain the following:
(A) A copy of the order establishing the child support obligation under which a collection was made by the private child support collector.
(B) Records of all correspondence between the private child support collector and the obligee or obligor in a case.
(C) Any other pertinent information relating to the child support obligation, including any case, cause, or docket number of the court having jurisdiction over the matter and official government payment records obtained by the private child support collector on behalf of, and at the request of, the obligee.
(3) Safeguard case records in a manner reasonably expected to prevent intentional or accidental disclosure of confidential information pertaining to the obligee or obligor, including providing necessary protections for records maintained in an automated system.
(4) Ensure that every person who contracts with a private child support collector has the right to review all files and documents, both paper and electronic, in the possession of the private child support collector for the information specified in this paragraph regarding that obligee’s case that are not required by law to be kept confidential. The obligee, during regular business hours, shall be provided reasonable access to and copies of the files and records of the private child support collector regarding all moneys received, collection attempts made, fees retained or paid to the private child support collector, and moneys disbursed to the obligee. The private child support collector may not charge a fee for access to the files and records, but may require the obligee to pay up to three cents ($0.03) per page for the copies prior to their release.
(5) Provide, prior to commencing collection activities, written notice of a contract with an obligee to the local child support agency that is enforcing the obligee’s support order, if known, or the local child support agency for the county in which the obligee resides as of the time the contract is signed by the obligee. The notice shall identify the obligee, the obligor, and the amount of the arrearage claimed by the obligee.
(b) A private child support collector shall not do any of the following:
(1) Charge fees on current support if the obligee received any current child support during the six months preceding execution of the contract with the private child support collector. A private child support collector shall inquire of the obligee and record the month and year of the last current support payment and may rely on information provided by the obligee in determining whether a fee may be charged on current support.
(2) Improperly retain fees from collections that are primarily attributable to the actions of a governmental entity. The private child support collector shall refund all of those fees to the obligee immediately upon discovery or notice of the improper retention of fees.
(3) Collect or attempt to collect child support by means of conduct that is prohibited of a debt collector collecting a consumer debt under Sections 1788.10 to 1788.16, inclusive, of the Civil Code. This chapter does not modify, alter, or amend the definition of a debt or a debt collector under the Rosenthal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (Title 1.6C (commencing with Section 1788) of Part 4 of Division 3 of the Civil Code).
(4) Misstate the amount of the fee that may be lawfully paid to the private child support collector for the performance of the contract or the identity of the person who is obligated to pay that fee.
(5) Make a false representation of the amount of child support to be collected. A private child support collector is not in violation of this paragraph if it reasonably relied on sufficient documentation provided by the government entity collecting child support, a court with jurisdiction over the support obligation, or from the obligee, or upon sufficient documentation provided by the obligor.
(6) Ask a party other than the obligor to pay the child support obligation, unless that party is legally responsible for the obligation or is the legal representative of the obligor.
(7) On or after January 1, 2007, require as a condition of providing services to the obligee, that the obligee waive any right or procedure provided for in state law regarding the right to file and pursue a civil action, or that the obligee agree to resolve disputes in a jurisdiction outside of California or to the application of laws other than those of California, as provided by law. Any waiver by the obligee of the right to file and pursue a civil action, the right to file and pursue a civil action in California, or the right to rely upon California law as provided by law must be knowing, voluntary, and not made a condition of doing business with the private child support collector. Any waiver, including, but not limited to, an agreement to arbitrate or regarding choice of forum or choice of law, that is required as a condition of doing business with the private child support collector, shall be presumed involuntary, unconscionable, against public policy, and unenforceable. The private child support collector has the burden of proving that any waiver of rights, including an agreement to arbitrate a claim or regarding choice of forum or choice of law, was knowing, voluntary, and not made a condition of the contract with the obligee.

SEC. 5.SEC. 4.

 Section 17311.7 of the Family Code is repealed.

SEC. 6.SEC. 5.

 Section 17311.7 is added to the Family Code, to read:

17311.7.
 (a) To the extent allowed by federal law, any payment required to be made to a family through the State Disbursement Unit under the state plan shall be made directly to the resident parent, legal guardian, caretaker relative who has custody of or responsibility for the child, judicially appointed conservator with a legal and fiduciary duty to the parent and child, or alternate caretaker.
(b) For purposes of this section, the following definitions shall apply:
(1) “Alternate caretaker” means a nonrelative caretaker who is designated in a record by the custodial parent to take care of the child for a limited time.
(2) “Record” means information that is inscribed on a tangible medium or that is stored in an electronic or other format and is retrievable in perceivable form.

SEC. 7.SEC. 6.

 Section 69619.7 is added to the Government Code, to read:

69619.7.
 (a) The Legislature hereby ratifies the authority of the Judicial Council to convert 10 subordinate judicial officer positions to judgeships in the 2018–19 fiscal year when the conversion will result in a judge being assigned to a family law or juvenile law assignment previously presided over by a subordinate judicial officer, pursuant to subparagraph (C) of paragraph (1) of subdivision (c) of Section 69615.
(b) The action described in subdivision (a) shall be in addition to any action that may be taken pursuant to the authority described in subparagraph (B) of paragraph (1) of subdivision (c) of Section 69615 to convert up to 16 subordinate judicial officer positions to judgeships.
(c) This section shall become operative on January 1, 2019.

SEC. 8.SEC. 7.

 Section 70677 of the Government Code, as amended by Section 13 of Chapter 26 of the Statutes of 2015, is amended to read:

70677.
 (a) The uniform fee for filing any motion, application, order to show cause, or any other paper requiring a hearing subsequent to the first paper is forty dollars ($40). Papers for which this fee shall be charged include the following:
(1) Papers listed in subdivision (a) of Section 70617.
(2) An order to show cause or notice of motion seeking temporary prejudgment or postjudgment orders, including, but not limited to, orders to establish, modify, or enforce child, spousal, or partner support, custody and visitation of children, division and control of property, attorney’s fees, and bifurcation of issues.
(b) There shall be no fee under subdivision (a) of this section for filing any of the following:
(1) A motion, motion to quash proceeding, application, or demurrer that is the first paper filed in an action and on which a first paper filing fee is paid.
(2) An amended notice of motion or amended order to show cause.
(3) A statement to register foreign support under Section 5700.313 of the Family Code.
(4) An application to determine the judgment after entry of default.
(5) A request for an order to prevent domestic violence.
(6) A paper requiring a hearing on a petition for writ of review, mandate, or prohibition that is the first paper filed in an action and on which a first paper filing fee has been paid.
(7) A stipulation that does not require an order.
(c) The uniform fee for filing the following papers not requiring a hearing is twenty dollars ($20):
(1) A request, application, or motion for the continuance of a hearing or case management conference.
(2) A stipulation and order.
(d) Regardless of whether each motion or matter is heard at a single hearing or at separate hearings, the filing fees required under paragraph (1) of subdivision (a) and under subdivision (c) apply separately to each motion or other paper filed. If an order to show cause or notice of motion is filed as specified in paragraph (2) of subdivision (a) combining requests for relief or opposition to relief on more than one issue, only one filing fee shall be charged under this section. The Judicial Council may publish rules to give uniform guidance to courts in applying fees under this section.
(e) This section shall become operative on July 1, 2018.

SEC. 9.SEC. 8.

 This act is an urgency statute necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety within the meaning of Article IV of the California Constitution and shall go into immediate effect. The facts constituting the necessity are:
To support the well-being of California children and families by strengthening provisions for efficient and fair child support, visitation and custody, clarifying existing provisions of law, and bolstering the resources of the family courts to perform marriages and adjudicate family law matters at the earliest possible time, it is necessary that this measure take effect immediately.