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AB-2197 Child custody: Workgroup on Child Custody Court Proceedings.(2019-2020)

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Date Published: 02/12/2020 09:00 PM
AB2197:v99#DOCUMENT


CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2019–2020 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 2197


Introduced by Assembly Member Blanca Rubio

February 12, 2020


An act to add Part 4 (commencing with Section 3480) to Division 8 of the Family Code, relating to child custody.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 2197, as introduced, Blanca Rubio. Child custody: Workgroup on Child Custody Court Proceedings.
Existing law governs the determination of child custody and visitation in contested proceedings. Existing law requires the court, for purposes of deciding custody, to determine the best interests of the child based on certain factors, including the nature and amount of contact with both parents, and consistent with specified policies, including that the court’s primary concern must be to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of the child. Existing law further provides that custody should be granted in a specified order of preference, according to the best interests of the child.
Existing law provides that whenever custody or visitation is granted to a parent in a case alleging domestic violence, and an emergency protective order, protective order, or other restraining order has been issued, the custody or visitation order shall specify the time, day, place, and manner of transfer of the child for custody or visitation to limit the child’s exposure to potential domestic conflict or violence and to ensure the safety of all family members.
This bill would create the Workgroup on Child Custody and Court Proceedings to be comprised of various members, including the Chief Justice of California or the Chief Justice’s designee and one representative of the Department of Child Support Services, appointed no later than June 1, 2021. The bill would require the workgroup to study state child custody court proceedings, study available science and best practices to children in traumatic situations, and make recommendations to the Legislature, no later than January 1, 2023, about how courts can incorporate the latest science and legal determinations regarding the safety and well-being of children and other victims of domestic violence into court proceedings.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

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


SECTION 1.

 Part 4 (commencing with Section 3480) is added to Division 8 of the Family Code, to read:

PART 4. Workgroup on Child Custody Court Proceedings

3480.
 The Workgroup on Child Custody Court Proceedings is hereby created and shall be comprised of the following members:
(a) Two members of the Senate, appointed by the President Pro Tempore.
(b) Two members of the Assembly, appointed by the Speaker.
(c) The Chief Justice of California or the Chief Justice’s designee.
(d) The following members, appointed by the Governor:
(1) Three representatives of child advocacy nonprofit organizations.
(2) One representative of the California State Bar Association.
(3) One attorney specializing in family law matters.
(4) One district attorney who handles primarily child abuse cases.
(5) One representative of the Department of Child Support Services.
(6) One representative of the Children’s Advocacy Centers of California.
(7) One retired justice of a court of appeal.
(8) One representative of a domestic violence victim advocacy group or coalition.
(9) One trauma recovery and education expert.
(10) One nonoffending parent who has been involved in a child abuse matter and has taken legal action to protect the nonoffending parent’s children.
(11) One representative of a rape crisis center or coalition.
(12) One individual appointed at the Governor’s discretion.
(e) The Chief Justice or the Chief Justice’s designee shall chair the workgroup.
(f) The members of the workgroup shall be appointed no later than June 1, 2021.

3841.
 Members of the workgroup or their designees shall serve without compensation, but may be reimbursed for necessary and reasonable expenses incurred in the discharge of their duties as provided in the state budget.

3842.
 The workgroup shall do all of the following:
(a) Study state child custody court processes for circumstances in which child abuse or domestic violence allegations are made during court proceedings.
(b) Study available science and best practices pertaining to children in traumatic situations, including trauma-informed decisionmaking.
(c) Make recommendations to the Legislature, no later than January 1, 2023, about how courts can incorporate the latest science and legal determinations regarding the safety and well-being of children and other victims of domestic violence into court proceedings.