Legislation Affecting Family Law Practice - Articles

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Posted by: Jarod Word on Feb 18, 2019
As the legislative session progresses, many bills of interest to family law practitioners are on the move. Here is a list of notable legislation which has the potential to affect your practice area:
A pilot program to provide child care payments to eligible relative caregivers. Requires the department of children's services to establish a three-year pilot program to provide child care payments to eligible relative caregivers. 

Granting of custody to a relative caregiver. Requires a court that issues orders granting custody or guardianship of children to relative caregivers to inform the relative caregiver that resources and funding may be available through the department of children's services. 

Grandparent visitation. Requires court-ordered grandparent visitation rights include at least two visits per month, with a provision that less frequent visitation may be agreed to by the grandparent.

As introduced, increases the punishment for a conviction of aggravated rape of a child from 15 to 60 years in prison and a fine of up to $50,000 to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Revises stepparent visitation rights. Declares that in the event a stepparent or former petitions for visitation with the stepchild or former stepchild, the court shall set a hearing for visitation if a parent of custodian opposes the visitation, by the circumstance of a divorce or court of another state declares visitation, amongst others. 

Statute of limitations - sexual offenses against children. Deletes the statute of limitations for prosecution of certain Class A or Class B felony sexual offenses committed against a child on or after July 1, 2019. 

Child Support Cooperation Act. Establishes the Child Support Cooperation Act which reduces child poverty and dependency by ensuring that parents cooperate with state efforts to collect child support for their children, as authorized by federal law. 

Requires equal division of guardian ad litem fees in adoptions. Requires that guardian ad litem fees in a pending adoption matter be divided equally between the parties, and requires billing of the indigent party's fees to the administrative office of the court's claims and payment system and bill the remaining parties at the same rate. 

As introduced, requires that a child who is charged with a delinquent act that could qualify the child as a violent juvenile sexual offender must be given verbal and written notice of the violent juvenile sexual offender registration requirements at least 48 hours in advance of a hearing on whether the child committed such act.

Removes statute of limitations on Class A or B felony sexual offenses committed against children. Removes statute of limitations on Class A or B felony sexual offenses committed against children.

As introduced, makes various changes to zero to three courts, including adding five additional courts, extending such courts to January 1, 2025, and allowing such courts to reinstate a revoked or suspended driver license of a party to an action before the court and waive unpaid fines and fees based on the party's satisfactory progress toward meeting the goals of the court.

SB719/HB854 (TBA BILL)
The court allowed to exercise domestic relations jurisdiction. Allows a court to exercise domestic relations jurisdiction regardless of the nature of the allegations until a pleading is filed or relief is sought in a juvenile court invoking its exclusive original jurisdiction.

As introduced, expands the kinship foster care program beyond the placement of children with relatives to include placement with fictive kin; authorizes fictive kin participating in kinship foster care program to receive foster care payments and benefits.

Extends statute of limitations on certain child sexual assault cases. Extends statute of limitations on child sexual assault cases where a crime was not reported to law enforcement within three years of the occurrence.

As introduced, extends civil and criminal statutes of limitation for certain acts of abuse against minors; increases the penalty for intentional failure to report child abuse or child sexual abuse.

Religious or moral exemptions for private child-placing agencies. Prohibits, to the extent allowed by federal law, requiring privately owned child placing agencies participating in the placement of a child in foster care or adoption if that would violate the agency's moral or religious convictions. 

Defines a guardian for purposes of criminal injuries compensation. Defines guardian for purposes of criminal injuries compensation. Broadly captioned.

Altering a child's school enrollment with intent to hinder an active child abuse investigation. Creates the Class A misdemeanor offense of withdrawing, transferring, or altering a child's school enrollment with intent to hinder an active child abuse or child neglect investigation creates the Class E felony offense of moving a child in such circumstances out of state.

As introduced, requires the commissioner of children's services to provide a report to the district attorney general with jurisdiction following a fatality or near fatality of certain children; requires an immediate investigation into a report of child abuse from a party tasked with the education or health and welfare of the child.

Addresses grandparents' rights. Requires a grandparent who has a significant existing relationship with a grandchild to be a party to any termination of the parental rights of that grandparent's child.

As introduced, clarifies the priority an employer, person, corporation, or institution must give to all orders of income assignment against an individual for a child, medical, or spousal support; removes references to the Tennessee Judicial Council, which terminated June 30, 2009.