Bill Text: IA SF571 | 2019-2020 | 88th General Assembly | Introduced


Bill Title: A bill for an act relating to the awarding of joint custody and joint physical care. (Formerly SF 11.)

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (? 1-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2019-04-04 - Referred to Judiciary. S.J. 859. [SF571 Detail]

Download: Iowa-2019-SF571-Introduced.html
Senate File 571 - Introduced SENATE FILE 571 BY COMMITTEE ON JUDICIARY (SUCCESSOR TO SF 11) A BILL FOR An Act relating to the awarding of joint custody and joint 1 physical care. 2 BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF IOWA: 3 TLSB 1647SV (1) 88 pf/rh
S.F. 571 Section 1. Section 598.7, subsection 1, Code 2019, is 1 amended to read as follows: 2 1. The district court may, on its own motion or on the 3 motion of any party, order the parties to participate in 4 mediation in any dissolution of marriage action or other 5 domestic relations action. Mediation performed under this 6 section shall comply with the provisions of chapter 679C . 7 The provisions of this section shall not apply if the action 8 involves a child support or medical support obligation 9 enforced by the child support recovery unit. The provisions 10 of this section shall not apply to actions which involve elder 11 abuse pursuant to chapter 235F or domestic abuse pursuant 12 to chapter 236 . The provisions of this section shall not 13 affect a judicial district’s or court’s authority to order 14 settlement conferences pursuant to rules of civil procedure. 15 The court shall, on application of a party, grant a waiver 16 from any court-ordered mediation under this section if the 17 party demonstrates that a history of domestic abuse exists as 18 specified in section 598.41, subsection 3 , paragraph “j” “i” . 19 Sec. 2. Section 598.41, subsection 1, paragraphs a, c, and 20 d, Code 2019, are amended to read as follows: 21 a. The court may provide for joint legal custody of the 22 child by the parties. The court, insofar as is reasonable and 23 in the best interest of the child, shall order the custody 24 award, including liberal visitation rights where appropriate, 25 which will assure the child the opportunity for the maximum 26 continuing physical and emotional contact with both parents 27 after the parents have separated or dissolved the marriage, 28 and which will encourage parents to share the rights and 29 responsibilities of raising the child unless direct physical 30 harm or significant emotional harm to the child, other 31 children, or a parent is likely to result from such contact 32 with one parent. 33 c. The court shall consider the denial by one parent of 34 the child’s opportunity for maximum continuing contact with 35 -1- LSB 1647SV (1) 88 pf/rh 1/ 5
S.F. 571 the other parent, without just cause, a significant factor in 1 determining the proper custody arrangement. Just cause may 2 include a determination by the court pursuant to subsection 3 3 , paragraph “j” “i” , that a history of domestic abuse exists 4 between the parents. 5 d. If a history of domestic abuse exists as determined by 6 a court pursuant to subsection 3 , paragraph “j” “i” , and if 7 a parent who is a victim of such domestic abuse relocates or 8 is absent from the home based upon the fear of or actual acts 9 or threats of domestic abuse perpetrated by the other parent, 10 the court shall not consider the relocation or absence of that 11 parent as a factor against that parent in the awarding of 12 custody or visitation. 13 Sec. 3. Section 598.41, subsection 2, paragraphs c and d, 14 Code 2019, are amended to read as follows: 15 c. A finding by the court that a history of domestic abuse 16 exists, as specified in subsection 3 , paragraph “j” “i” , which 17 is not rebutted, shall outweigh consideration of any other 18 factor specified in subsection 3 in the determination of the 19 awarding of custody under this subsection . 20 d. Before ruling upon the joint custody petition in these 21 cases, unless the court determines that a history of domestic 22 abuse exists as specified in subsection 3 , paragraph “j” “i” , 23 or unless the court determines that direct physical harm or 24 significant emotional harm to the child, other children, or a 25 parent is likely to result, the court may require the parties 26 to participate in custody mediation to determine whether joint 27 custody is in the best interest of the child. The court may 28 require the child’s participation in the mediation insofar as 29 the court determines the child’s participation is advisable. 30 Sec. 4. Section 598.41, subsection 3, Code 2019, is amended 31 to read as follows: 32 3. In considering what custody arrangement under subsection 33 2 is in the best interest of the minor child, the court shall 34 consider the following factors: 35 -2- LSB 1647SV (1) 88 pf/rh 2/ 5
S.F. 571 a. Whether each parent would be a suitable custodian for the 1 child. 2 b. Whether the psychological and emotional needs and 3 development of the child will suffer due to lack of active 4 contact with and attention from both parents. 5 c. Whether the parents can communicate with each other 6 regarding the child’s needs. 7 d. Whether both parents have actively cared for the child 8 before and since the separation. 9 e. Whether each parent can support the other parent’s 10 relationship with the child. 11 f. Whether the custody arrangement is in accord with the 12 child’s wishes or whether the child has strong opposition, 13 taking into consideration the child’s age and maturity. 14 g. Whether one or both the parents agree or are opposed to 15 joint custody. 16 h. g. The geographic proximity of the parents. 17 i. h. Whether the safety of the child, other children, or 18 the other parent will be jeopardized by the awarding of joint 19 custody or by unsupervised or unrestricted visitation. 20 j. i. Whether a history of domestic abuse, as defined in 21 section 236.2 , exists. In determining whether a history of 22 domestic abuse exists, the court’s consideration shall include 23 but is not limited to commencement of an action pursuant to 24 section 236.3 , the issuance of a protective order against the 25 parent or the issuance of a court order or consent agreement 26 pursuant to section 236.5 , the issuance of an emergency order 27 pursuant to section 236.6 , the holding of a parent in contempt 28 pursuant to section 664A.7 , the response of a peace officer to 29 the scene of alleged domestic abuse or the arrest of a parent 30 following response to a report of alleged domestic abuse, or 31 a conviction for domestic abuse assault pursuant to section 32 708.2A . 33 k. j. Whether a parent has allowed a person custody or 34 control of, or unsupervised access to a child after knowing 35 -3- LSB 1647SV (1) 88 pf/rh 3/ 5
S.F. 571 the person is required to register or is on the sex offender 1 registry as a sex offender under chapter 692A . 2 Sec. 5. Section 598.41, subsection 5, paragraph a, Code 3 2019, is amended to read as follows: 4 a. If The awarding of joint legal custody is awarded to both 5 parents, the court may award creates a rebuttable presumption 6 in favor of the awarding of joint physical care to both joint 7 custodial parents upon the request of either parent. Prior to 8 ruling on the request for the award of joint physical care, 9 the . The court may shall require the parents to submit, 10 either individually or jointly, a proposed joint physical care 11 parenting plan. A proposed joint physical care parenting plan 12 shall address how the parents will make decisions affecting the 13 child, how the parents will provide a home for the child, how 14 the child’s time will be divided between the parents and how 15 each parent will facilitate the child’s time with the other 16 parent, arrangements in addition to court-ordered child support 17 for the child’s expenses, how the parents will resolve major 18 changes or disagreements affecting the child including changes 19 that arise due to the child’s age and developmental needs, 20 and any other issues the court may require. If the court 21 denies the request for does not award joint physical care, 22 the determination shall be accompanied by specific findings 23 of fact and conclusions of law court shall cite clear and 24 convincing evidence that the awarding of joint physical care 25 is unreasonable and not in the best interest of the child , to 26 the extent that the joint physical care relationship between 27 the child and each parent should not be equal . A finding by the 28 court that a history of child abuse or neglect exists relative 29 to the child is sufficient to rebut the presumption in favor of 30 the awarding of joint physical care. 31 Sec. 6. Section 598.41, subsection 8, Code 2019, is amended 32 to read as follows: 33 8. If an application for modification of a decree or 34 a petition for modification of an order is filed, based 35 -4- LSB 1647SV (1) 88 pf/rh 4/ 5
S.F. 571 upon differences between the parents regarding the custody 1 arrangement established under the decree or order, unless the 2 court determines that a history of domestic abuse exists as 3 specified in subsection 3 , paragraph “j” “i” , or unless the 4 court determines that direct physical harm or significant 5 emotional harm to the child, other children, or a parent 6 is likely to result, the court may require the parents to 7 participate in mediation to attempt to resolve the differences 8 between the parents. 9 EXPLANATION 10 The inclusion of this explanation does not constitute agreement with 11 the explanation’s substance by the members of the general assembly. 12 This bill relates to the awarding of custody of a child. 13 The bill amends the factors upon which the court determines 14 the custody arrangement that is in the best interest of the 15 child by eliminating the factor of whether one or both of the 16 parents agree or are opposed to joint custody. 17 The bill establishes a rebuttable presumption in favor of 18 the awarding of joint physical care if the court awards joint 19 legal custody to both parents, and requires the parents to 20 submit a joint physical care parenting plan. If the court does 21 not award joint physical care, the bill requires the court to 22 cite clear and convincing evidence that the awarding of joint 23 physical care is unreasonable and not in the best interest 24 of the child, to the extent that the joint physical care 25 relationship between the child and each parent should not be 26 equal. A finding by the court that a history of child abuse or 27 neglect exists relative to the child is sufficient to rebut the 28 presumption in favor of the awarding of joint physical care. 29 The bill makes conforming changes in the Code due to the 30 elimination of the factor of whether one or both of the parents 31 agree or are opposed to joint custody relative to determining 32 the best interest of the child. 33 -5- LSB 1647SV (1) 88 pf/rh 5/ 5
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