Bill Text: TX HB45 | 2017-2018 | 85th Legislature | Engrossed

NOTE: There are more recent revisions of this legislation. Read Latest Draft
Bill Title: Relating to requiring the Texas Supreme Court to adopt rules and provide judicial instruction regarding the application of foreign laws in certain family law cases.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Republican 31-0)

Status: (Passed) 2017-06-14 - Effective on 9/1/17 [HB45 Detail]

Download: Texas-2017-HB45-Engrossed.html
  85R18722 KSD-F
 
  By: Flynn, Leach, Burkett, Parker, H.B. No. 45
      Laubenberg, et al.
 
 
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
 
AN ACT
  relating to requiring the Texas Supreme Court to adopt rules and
  provide judicial instruction regarding the application of foreign
  laws in certain family law cases.
         BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
         SECTION 1.  The legislature finds that:
               (1)  litigants in actions under the Family Code
  involving a marriage relationship or a parent-child relationship
  are protected against violations of constitutional rights and
  public policy in the application of foreign law and the recognition
  and enforcement of foreign judgments and arbitration awards by
  courts of this state by a well-established body of law, described by
  Tex. Att'y Gen. Op. No. KP-0094 (2016), which includes protections
  provided under:
                     (A)  the United States Constitution and the Texas
  Constitution;
                     (B)  federal law, treaties, and conventions to
  which the United States is a signatory;
                     (C)  federal and state judicial precedent; and
                     (D)  the Family Code and other laws of this state;
               (2)  the legislature has enacted statutes, including
  the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act
  (UCCJEA), that address comity regarding foreign judgments and
  arbitration awards;
               (3)  as recognized by courts and commentators, the
  UCCJEA does not define the aspects of a foreign law that violate
  fundamental principles of human rights or certain terminology used
  by that Act;
               (4)  the Family Code allows parties to a suit involving
  the marriage relationship or affecting the parent-child
  relationship to engage in arbitration and authorizes the court to
  render an order reflecting the arbitrator's award;
               (5)  the Family Code should not be applied to enforce a
  judgment or arbitrator's award affecting a marriage relationship or
  a parent-child relationship based on foreign law if the foreign law
  applied to render the judgment or award does not:
                     (A)  grant constitutional rights guaranteed by
  the United States Constitution and the Texas Constitution;
                     (B)  consider the best interest of the child;
                     (C)  consider whether domestic violence or child
  abuse has occurred and is likely to continue in the future; or
                     (D)  consider whether the foreign judgment or
  arbitrator's award affecting the parent-child relationship may
  place the child in substantial risk of harm; and
               (6)  the rules of procedure and evidence adopted by the
  Texas Supreme Court and judicial education required by the Texas
  Supreme Court can ensure the full implementation and uniform
  application by the courts of this state of the well-established
  body of law described by Subdivision (1) of this section in order to
  protect litigants in actions under the Family Code involving a
  marriage relationship or a parent-child relationship against
  violations of constitutional rights and public policy.
         SECTION 2.  Subchapter A, Chapter 22, Government Code, is
  amended by adding Sections 22.0041 and 22.022 to read as follows:
         Sec. 22.0041.  RULES REGARDING FOREIGN LAW AND FOREIGN
  JUDGMENTS IN CERTAIN FAMILY LAW ACTIONS. (a) In this section:
               (1)  "Comity" means the recognition by a court of one
  jurisdiction of the laws and judicial decisions of a court of
  another jurisdiction.
               (2)  "Foreign judgment" means a judgment of a court,
  tribunal, or administrative adjudicator of a jurisdiction outside
  of the states and territories of the United States.
               (3)  "Foreign law" means a law, rule, or code of a
  jurisdiction outside of the states and territories of the United
  States.
         (b)  The supreme court shall adopt rules of evidence and
  procedure to implement the limitations on the granting of comity to
  a foreign judgment or an arbitration award involving a marriage
  relationship or a parent-child relationship under the Family Code
  to protect against violations of constitutional rights and public
  policy.
         (c)  The rules adopted under Subsection (b) must:
               (1)  require that any party who intends to seek
  enforcement of a judgment or an arbitration award based on foreign
  law that involves a marriage relationship or a parent-child
  relationship shall provide timely notice to the court and to each
  other party, including by providing information required by Rule
  203, Texas Rules of Evidence, and by describing the court's
  authority to enforce or decide to enforce the judgment or award;
               (2)  require that any party who intends to oppose the
  enforcement of a judgment or an arbitration award based on foreign
  law that involves a marriage relationship or a parent-child
  relationship shall provide timely notice to the court and to each
  other party and include with the notice an explanation of the
  party's basis for opposition, including by stating whether the
  party asserts that the judgment or award violates constitutional
  rights or public policy;
               (3)  require a hearing on the record, after notice to
  the parties, to determine whether the proposed enforcement of a
  judgment or an arbitration award based on foreign law that involves
  a marriage relationship or a parent-child relationship violates
  constitutional rights or public policy;
               (4)  to facilitate appellate review, require that a
  court state its findings of fact and conclusions of law in a written
  order determining whether to enforce a foreign judgment or an
  arbitration award based on foreign law that involves a marriage
  relationship or a parent-child relationship;
               (5)  require that a court's determination under
  Subdivision (3) or (4) be made promptly so that the action may
  proceed expeditiously; and
               (6)  provide that a court may issue any orders the court
  considers necessary to preserve principles of comity or the freedom
  to contract for arbitration while protecting against violations of
  constitutional rights and public policy in the application of
  foreign law and the recognition and enforcement of foreign
  judgments and arbitration awards.
         (d)  In addition to the rules required under Subsection (b),
  the supreme court shall adopt any other rules the supreme court
  considers necessary or advisable to accomplish the purposes of this
  section.
         (e)  A rule adopted under this section does not apply to an
  action brought under the International Child Abduction Remedies Act
  (22 U.S.C. Section 9001 et seq.).
         (f)  In the event of a conflict between a rule adopted under
  this section and a federal or state law, the federal or state law
  prevails.
         Sec. 22.022.  JUDICIAL INSTRUCTION RELATED TO FOREIGN LAW
  AND FOREIGN JUDGMENTS. (a) The supreme court shall provide for a
  course of instruction that relates to issues regarding foreign law,
  foreign judgments, and arbitration awards in relation to foreign
  law that arise in actions under the Family Code involving the
  marriage relationship and the parent-child relationship for judges
  involved in those actions.
         (b)  The course of instruction must include information
  about:
               (1)  the limits on comity and the freedom to contract
  for arbitration that protect against violations of constitutional
  rights and public policy in the application of foreign law and the
  recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments and arbitration
  awards in actions brought under the Family Code; and
               (2)  the rules of evidence and procedure adopted under
  Section 22.0041.
         (c)  The supreme court shall adopt rules necessary to
  accomplish the purposes of this section.
         SECTION 3.  The Texas Supreme Court shall adopt rules as
  required by this Act as soon as practicable following the effective
  date of this Act, but not later than January 1, 2018.
         SECTION 4.  This Act takes effect September 1, 2017.
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