|From: Robert Muchnick [email@example.com]|
Sent: January 16, 2002 13:50
Subject: USA: CO moves toward UPREPA
On Tuesday, Colorado state Rep. Bill Sinclair introduced his HB 02-1190, a bill concerning parenting time. Among other provisions is the rebuttable presumption of EQUALLY SHARED parenting.
This bill doesn't have the teeth that our proposed Uniform Parental Rights Enforcement and Protection Act (UPREPA) does, but it has some powerful provisions -- some of which appear to have been borrowed from UPREPA. Among these are one noted below the Bill Summary herein, providing for a compulsory change of primary custody to the parent targeted by a false allegation. Note also the raising of the standard of proof for certain items to "clear and convincing" instead of the abused "preponderance of the evidence" standard, which presently gives judges infinite "discretion" to destroy children and people's lives.
You can download a PDF version of the entire bill from the CCJ web site. Go to http://www.childrensjustice.org and click on "Colorado's latest shared parenting Bill, House Bill 02-1190" a few clicks down the main page.
The Bill Summary follows.
A BILL FOR AN ACT
CONCERNING PARENTING TIME.
(Note: This summary applies to this bill as introduced and does not necessarily reflect any amendments that may be subsequently adopted.)
Acknowledges that, in most cases, it is in the best interests of children to have frequent and continuing time with both of their parents. Further recognizes that, in furtherance of that goal, a shared parenting time arrangement is optimal in most cases.
Repeals the best interests factors previously used for the determination of parenting time and, in their place, establishes a rebuttable presumption that parents have shared parenting time such that the child may enjoy a substantially equal amount of time with each parent in order to afford each parent the opportunity to be involved in the life of and to continue to develop a strong relationship with his or her child.
Defines the term "shared parenting time" to provide that the goal of the parenting time order shall be to achieve, or approximate as closely as possible, an arrangement whereby the child resides with each parent for a substantially equal amount of time. Allows the presumption of shared parenting time to be rebutted in the following 5 situations:
If both parties agree to a different arrangement;
If one party does not wish to have an active role in raising the child;
If one or more conditions exist that significantly interfere with the exercise of shared parenting time;
If the court finds, based upon clear and convincing evidence, that the parties will not be able to cooperate with shared parenting time; or
If the court finds, based upon clear and convincing evidence, that one of the parties has been a perpetrator of child or spouse abuse.
Directs the court to order a party to pay the other party's attorney fees if the court finds that such party made an unsubstantiated claim, in an effort to circumvent the presumption of shared parenting time, that the parties would be unable to cooperate with a shared parenting time arrangement. Permits a court to order shared parenting time if it finds, based upon clear and convincing evidence, that the perpetrator of child or spouse abuse has successfully embarked upon a credible program of counseling, education, and self-improvement over a period of at least 18 months. In determining parenting time, directs the court not to consider
the age of the child.
Clarifies that the court may make or modify an order concerning parenting time based upon the changes set forth in this act. Makes conforming amendments.
N.B.: One very important provision of this bill concerns the filing of false allegations (page 8):
... NOTWITHSTANDING ANY OTHER PROVISION TO THE
CONTRARY IN THIS PARAGRAPH (a), IF ALLEGATIONS OF CHILD ABUSE OR
NEGLECT OR OF SPOUSE ABUSE ARE FOUND TO BE UNFOUNDED OR A TACTIC
EMPLOYED BY ONE PARTY TO CIRCUMVENT THE PRESUMPTION OF SHARED
PARENTING TIME, THEN THE COURT MAY CONSIDER THE UNFOUNDED
ALLEGATIONS IN CONSIDERING WHETHER THE EXCEPTIONS TO THE
PRESUMPTION SET FORTH IN THIS SUBPARAGRAPH (II) SHOULD APPLY.
BASED UPON A FINDING OF UNFOUNDED ALLEGATIONS, THE COURT SHALL
ENTER AN ORDER MAKING THE NON-ALLEGING PARTY RESPONSIBLE FOR
THE PRIMARY PHYSICAL CARE OF THE CHILD.
Center for Children's Justice