New Legislation Affecting Family Law Cases Effective January 1, 2015
The following new Legislation affecting family law cases will become law effective January 1, 2015:
Assembly Bill 1618 - Juvenile Case File Inspection:Existing California Welfare and Institution Code Section 827 requires case files of dependent children to be kept confidential, except as specified. However, it also lists those persons who may be permitted to inspect the files, including, among others, the attorneys for the parties, judges, referees, and other hearing officers, and law enforcement officers who are participating in the dependency proceedings. This Assembly Bill will amend Section 827 by adding Section 827(d)(2)(f), which provides that the persons authorized to inspect juvenile case files include persons serving in a similar capacity as those listed, for an Indian tribe, reservation, or tribal court, when the case filed involves a child who is a member of, or who is eligible for membership in, that tribe.
Assembly Bill 1628 - Grandparent Visitation:Current California Family Code Section 3104 describes the extent of and circumstances under which a grandparent may petition for visitation with his or her grandchild. However, the statute currently prohibits a grandparent from petitioning for visitation while the natural or adoptive parents are married unless one or more of several listed circumstances exist. This Assembly Bill amends Section 3104 by adding to that list the following circumstance: One of the parents is incarcerated or involuntarily institutionalized.
Assembly Bill 1843 - Confidentiality of Child Custody Evaluations:Current California Family Code Section 3025.5 provides that where a trial court appoints a child custody evaluator to do an evaluation, the report containing the psychological evaluations of the child or the evaluator's recommendations regarding custody or visitation must be contained in a document that is placed in the confidential portion of the court file. These confidentiality requirements also apply to custody or visitation recommendations made as a result of mediation and a written statement of issues and contentions submitted by court-appointed counsel for the child. Moreover, these reports and recommendations may not be disclosed except to specified persons. Assembly Bill 1843 amends these provisions to add the licensing entity of the child custody evaluator to the list of those persons to whom the reports and recommendations may be disclosed and spells out the manner in which the licensing entity may use that information. Current California Business and Professions Code Section 129, requires a board (defined as every board, bureau, commission, committee and similarly constituted agency that issues licenses) that receives a complaint respecting a licensee to notify the complainant of the first and final action taken on his or her complaint. It also permits the board to notify the person against whom the complaint was made, if appropriate, as to the nature of the complaint and to take other action. Assembly Bill 1843 also amends this statute to add a provision requiring a board that receives a child custody evaluation submitted to the court in connection with a complaint to notify the non-complaining party in the underlying custody dispute, who is a subject of that report, of the pending investigation.
Assembly Bill 1945 - Enforcement of Money Judgments; Exemptions:Current California Code of Civil Procedure Section 703.020 provides that certain property is exempted from enforcement of money judgments. It also permits the spouse of a judgment debtor to claim an exemption in the case of community property, whether or not the spouse is also a judgment debtor under the judgment. Assembly Bill 1945 amends this statute by adding a provision which permits the domestic partner of the judgment debtor, as defined in California Family Code Section 297, to claim an exemption in the case of community property, whether or not the domestic partner is also a judgment debtor under the judgment.