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Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

HF 3996

as introduced - 89th Legislature (2015 - 2016) Posted on 05/09/2016 01:40pm

KEY: stricken = removed, old language.
underscored = added, new language.
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A bill for an act
relating to family law; establishing a cooperative private divorce program;
making conforming changes; appropriating money;amending Minnesota Statutes
2014, sections 62A.21, subdivision 2a; 518.191, by adding a subdivision;
518.195, by adding a subdivision; 518A.43, subdivision 1; proposing coding for
new law in Minnesota Statutes, chapter 518.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA:

ARTICLE 1

COOPERATIVE PRIVATE DIVORCE PROGRAM

Section 1.

new text begin [518.80] COOPERATIVE PRIVATE DIVORCE PROGRAM.
new text end

new text begin Subdivision 1. new text end

new text begin Commissioner. new text end

new text begin For purposes of this section, "commissioner" means
the commissioner of Bureau of Mediation Services.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 2. new text end

new text begin Establishment. new text end

new text begin The commissioner shall establish a cooperative private
divorce program as provided in this section.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 3. new text end

new text begin Requirements. new text end

new text begin The cooperative private divorce program must, at a
minimum:
new text end

new text begin (1) be made available on the Bureau of Mediation Services Web site;
new text end

new text begin (2) make available to the participants of the program the notices and instructions
provided under subdivisions 9 and 10 and section 518.82;
new text end

new text begin (3) allow participants of the program to electronically complete and submit to
the commissioner an intent to divorce and declaration of divorce as provided under
subdivision 11;
new text end

new text begin (4) require a separate unique login and password for each participant to access the
program;
new text end

new text begin (5) provide a notification system that automatically contacts one participant when
the other participant accesses the program;
new text end

new text begin (6) provide a list of supportive services and service providers that may be helpful
to participants;
new text end

new text begin (7) provide a method to authenticate the identities of the signatories of the forms
required under subdivision 11;
new text end

new text begin (8) employ security measures to protect the confidentiality and personal information
of the participants submitting information through the program; and
new text end

new text begin (9) encrypt all data sent and received through the program Web site.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 4. new text end

new text begin Residency requirement. new text end

new text begin Married participants seeking dissolution
under this section qualify for the cooperative private divorce program if the residency
requirements under section 518.07 have been met by the participants.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 5. new text end

new text begin Procedure. new text end

new text begin (a) Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, married
participants who meet the criteria under subdivision 4 may dissolve their marital status
through the cooperative private divorce program made available on the Bureau of
Mediation Services Web site by:
new text end

new text begin (1) signing and submitting the intent to divorce under subdivision 11; and
new text end

new text begin (2) completing, signing, and submitting the declaration of divorce under subdivision
11 at least 90 days after, but not more than two years after, the intent to divorce was
submitted by both participants.
new text end

new text begin (b) Upon receipt of the completed declaration of divorce, the commissioner shall
issue a certificate of marital dissolution that includes the following information:
new text end

new text begin (1) the name, and any prior names, of the two participants to the cooperative private
divorce dissolution;
new text end

new text begin (2) the name of any living minor or dependent child of the participants;
new text end

new text begin (3) that the marriage of the participants is dissolved and the date of the participants'
dissolution; and
new text end

new text begin (4) the Social Security numbers of the participants and any living minor or dependent
children of the participants.
new text end

new text begin (c) A certificate of marital dissolution issued under this section completely dissolves
the marital status of the participants.
new text end

new text begin (d) Upon receipt of a declaration of divorce, the commissioner shall issue a
certificate of marital dissolution that is accessible to each participant through the online
cooperative private divorce program. The certificate of marital dissolution is conclusive
evidence of the divorce.
new text end

new text begin (e) The commissioner shall maintain a public registry containing the following:
new text end

new text begin (1) the name, and any prior names, of any participant of the cooperative private
divorce program;
new text end

new text begin (2) the name of any living minor or dependent child of a participant; and
new text end

new text begin (3) that the marriage of the participants is dissolved and the date of the participants'
dissolution.
new text end

new text begin (f) Before the commissioner issues a certificate of marital dissolution to married
participants who are parents of minor children, the married participants must attend a
four-hour parent education program as required under section 518.81.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 6. new text end

new text begin Certain agreements. new text end

new text begin (a) Any agreement made by the participants as
part of the declaration of divorce that allocates expenses for their child or children is an
enforceable contract between the participants under section 518.1705.
new text end

new text begin (b) It is the intent of this paragraph that agreements recorded in a declaration of
divorce shall be deemed to be a decree of divorce wherever a decree of divorce is referred
to in the Internal Revenue Code and agreements between the participants in a declaration
of divorce regarding alimony or maintenance shall be deemed to be a divorce or separation
agreement for purposes of deductibility under the Internal Revenue Code.
new text end

new text begin (c) Any issue that is not specifically addressed by the participants in the declaration
of divorce agreement is considered to be reserved for future agreement by the participants
or de novo review by the court.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 7. new text end

new text begin Modification. new text end

new text begin Any agreement made by the participants in their declaration
of divorce may be modified at any time after a declaration of divorce agreement is
submitted to the commissioner through the cooperative private divorce program, if both
participants agree to the amendment and submit an amended declaration of divorce.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 8. new text end

new text begin Court involvement. new text end

new text begin (a) At any time prior to the submission of a
declaration of divorce, participants in a cooperative private divorce may initiate an action
for marriage dissolution under this chapter in district court. Any action under this chapter
pending in district court must be resolved or dismissed before participants may submit
a declaration of divorce.
new text end

new text begin (b) Cooperative private divorce agreements contained in a declaration of divorce
may be enforced, modified, or vacated by the district court, or the court may address issues
that were reserved by the participants, according to the provisions of this chapter.
new text end

new text begin (c) Upon the filing of a certificate of marital dissolution by the participants, the court
administrator shall enter a decree of dissolution as provided in section 518.195 without
necessity of court approval or a judgment and decree and without regard to the criteria or
procedures contained in section 518.195, subdivisions 1 and 2.
new text end

new text begin (d) By executing a declaration of divorce with the Bureau of Mediation Services
that may be filed with the court, each participant consents to the continuing personal
jurisdiction of the Minnesota courts as to all matters related to the declaration of divorce.
new text end

new text begin (e) A participant in a cooperative private divorce may by petition initiate an action
in district court to:
new text end

new text begin (1) enforce, modify, or vacate the declaration of divorce;
new text end

new text begin (2) petition the court to address any issue reserved by the participants;
new text end

new text begin (3) obtain a summary real estate disposition judgment;
new text end

new text begin (4) obtain a qualified domestic relations order; or
new text end

new text begin (5) obtain a court decree of dissolution when necessary to comply with state or
federal law involving interstate enforcement of the participants' divorce.
new text end

new text begin A participant initiating an action under this paragraph must, by personal service, provide
to the other participant notice of filing the certificate of marital dissolution with the district
court together with any motion for relief. Any subsequent court action related to the
certificate of marital dissolution may be initiated by notice of motion and motion. An
action initiated under this paragraph shall be venued in a county located in this state where
either participant was residing at the time the certificate of marital dissolution was issued
by the Bureau of Mediation Services. The filing fee for any action under this paragraph
is $....... For a motion to vacate the declaration of divorce under section 518.145, the
one-year period of limitation begins on the date of the participants' dissolution.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 9. new text end

new text begin Notices; introduction to private divorce; form. new text end

new text begin The commissioner shall
make available the following form for use in the cooperative private divorce program:
new text end

new text begin NOTICE: Introduction to Cooperative Private Divorce
new text end

new text begin You are considering obtaining a Cooperative Private Divorce rather than going to
court to get divorced. Cooperative Private Divorce is a simplified procedure for couples
who want to avoid the expense, emotional strain, and arbitrary time frames that often
accompany adversarial court proceedings. To obtain a Cooperative Private Divorce you
will need to reach an agreement with your spouse about the issues in your divorce. Many
public and private services are available to help you.
new text end

new text begin The Cooperative Private Divorce process is based on the assumption that most
people have the capacity to divorce with respect and fairness if they are supported in that
direction. To that end, a Cooperative Private Divorce differs in two important ways from a
court divorce. First, the two of you have total control over your divorce and no one will
oversee or scrutinize the decisions you make. Second, it is a completely private process.
new text end

new text begin This leaves you with a great deal of flexibility. After you have educated yourself,
you can choose how detailed or simple to make your divorce decisions, and whether to
postpone some decisions to a later time. You can also create your own understanding
of fairness unique to your own situation.
new text end

new text begin These special features of a Cooperative Private Divorce, eliminating the anxiety
of someone else having control over your family, and lessening the pressure to resolve
everything all at once during a very stressful time, are intended to replace conflict with
your spouse by creating a healthy transition for you and your family. You are encouraged
to view each other as partners in creating the best solution for you and your family in
parenting and financial matters.
new text end

new text begin Basic Principles
new text end

new text begin Cooperative Private Divorce is not for everyone. Because of the need to create a fair
and healthy plan without coercion or oversight, it is intended for couples who can work
together in good faith for the best interests of everyone in the family.
new text end

new text begin Here are the six principles underlying Cooperative Private Divorce. If you and
your spouse believe you can fashion your divorce according to these principles, then a
Cooperative Private Divorce may be the best procedure for you.
new text end

new text begin 1. The preventing unnecessary divorce principle: You have reached a decision to
initiate a divorce only after exhausting other options to solve your problems within
your marriage, particularly if you have children.
new text end

new text begin 2. The healthy relationships principle: If you have children, your parenting plan
promotes safe, nurturing, and stable relationships among the children and with both
of their parents.
new text end

new text begin 3. The maximum parent involvement principle: Your parenting plan promotes high
levels of involvement of both parents with the children when that is feasible and
consistent with the needs of the children.
new text end

new text begin 4. The equity principle: Your financial plan promotes equitable and sustainable
lifestyles for all family members in light of the unique circumstances of your
marriage and family.
new text end

new text begin 5. The flexibility principle: Your divorce agreements take into account both
the value of having stable arrangements and the likelihood that the needs and
circumstances of your family will change over time.
new text end

new text begin 6. The optimal timing principle: You create partial or comprehensive agreements
with the timing and sequence that work best for you and your family.
new text end

new text begin Two Cautions
new text end

new text begin First, if you feel pressured or intimidated by your spouse to use this process or to
agree to specific matters in your divorce, or if you have doubts generally about your
spouse's willingness to reach agreements that are best for everyone in your family,
consider getting professional assistance before going further.
new text end

new text begin Second, the flexibility of a Cooperative Private Divorce also leaves you with an
important responsibility. Some couples have relatively simple issues to address in their
divorce. But some couples have more complex financial and parenting matters to resolve.
Financial matters are often more complex if you are self-employed or a business owner.
If you do not consider such matters carefully, you may face problems such as having
agreements that do not work over time or that are not enforceable. You are responsible to
educate yourself about the issues in your divorce and to obtain professional assistance
if you need it.
new text end

new text begin Professional and Community Resources
new text end

new text begin To begin with, recognize that going ahead with a divorce is a significant decision,
especially if you have children. Many research studies have shown that divorce can have an
adverse effect on children. If you want help to make sure you are making the right decision
for you and your family, you can make use of services available in local communities.
new text end

new text begin If you have made the decision to go ahead with the divorce, you may choose to work
with an advocate or with a facilitator who can guide you and your spouse in cooperative
processes that focus on your interests and needs and what will work for your family. You
may want to consult with an adviser on parenting or financial issues. From private sources
you can obtain sample agreements that may help you frame all of the issues you will
likely encounter. Although divorce can seem complex and difficult, these resources and
professional services can help make it easier for you and your spouse to reach an agreement.
new text end

new text begin The Bureau of Mediation Services serves as a clearinghouse for information about
the types of resources available. It also can provide information about services that are
offered for free or on a sliding fee.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 10. new text end

new text begin Instructions; form. new text end

new text begin The commissioner shall make available the
following form for use in the cooperative private divorce program:
new text end

new text begin Instructions for Cooperative Private Divorce
new text end

new text begin 1. Both spouses obtain unique identifiers from the Bureau of Mediation Services.
new text end

new text begin 2. Both spouses sign and submit the INTENT TO DIVORCE form with their unique
identifiers to register with the Bureau of Mediation Services.
new text end

new text begin 3. At any time at least 90 days after but not more than two years after submitting the
INTENT TO DIVORCE form, submit the Declaration of Divorce form signed by both
spouses.
new text end

new text begin 4. Upon submitting the Declaration of Divorce form, both spouses will receive a
certification that your marriage is dissolved.
new text end

new text begin 5. Most complete divorce agreements address the issues set forth in the Declaration of
Divorce form. It is up to you whether you want to record agreements in all or any of these
areas. But recognize that if your agreements are vague or incomplete or if you do not record
your agreements, it may be difficult for you to recall them, live up to your obligations,
or later ask a court to enforce an agreement. Use attachments if you want to record
agreements that are longer than space here permits. No one will review or approve the
agreements you set forth here before your divorce is certified; they are for your use only.
new text end

new text begin 6. At any time, either spouse can retrieve the Declaration of Divorce form containing your
agreements by providing your unique identifier. No one except you and your spouse will
have access to this form.
new text end

new text begin 7. At any time, you and your former spouse can retrieve the Declaration of Divorce form,
make additions or modifications that you both agree to, and resubmit it.
new text end

new text begin 8. If you want to modify your previous agreements but you and your former spouse cannot
agree on the modifications, or if you want to seek enforcement of a previous agreement,
you are encouraged to seek assistance from professionals in the community who specialize
in helping former spouses reach fair agreements. You also have the option of going to
court where you would submit your Declaration of Divorce form.
new text end

new text begin 9. Remember that by creating a smooth family transition now and working on issues that
may arise in the future, developing a trustworthy working relationship with your spouse
will be just as helpful as written agreements.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 11. new text end

new text begin Intent to divorce; declaration of divorce; form. new text end

new text begin The commissioner shall
make available the following form for use in the cooperative private divorce program:
new text end

new text begin Intent to Divorce
new text end

new text begin We hereby declare that we are legally married, have both been residents of Minnesota
for at least 180 days, and intend to divorce. We understand that our divorce will be certified
if we submit the Declaration of Divorce form signed by both spouses at least 90 days after,
but not more than two years after, the date this INTENT TO DIVORCE form is submitted.
new text end

new text begin Date and place of marriage:
new text end
new text begin .
new text end
new text begin Signature, date:
new text end
new text begin .
new text end
new text begin E-mail address:
new text end
new text begin .
new text end
new text begin Social Security number
new text end
new text begin .
new text end
new text begin Signature, date:
new text end
new text begin .
new text end
new text begin E-mail address:
new text end
new text begin .
new text end
new text begin Declaration of Divorce
new text end
new text begin Facts
new text end
new text begin 1. We agree that the following is a list of all our assets and their approximate value:
new text end
new text begin 2. We agree that the following is a list of all our debts:
new text end
new text begin 3. Spouse A name, previous name(s) if any, and yearly income, including any bonuses:
new text end
new text begin 4. Spouse B name, previous name(s) if any, and yearly income, including any bonuses:
new text end
new text begin 5. The names, dates of birth, and Social Security numbers of our minor or dependent
children covered by this agreement are:
new text end

new text begin Agreements
new text end

new text begin 1. We agree to the following plan for parenting our child or children together after the
divorce. If our plan is temporary, we agree to the following process for updating it. (A
comprehensive plan would include: (a) how you will make important decisions like those
about school, health care, and religion; (b) how you will allocate your time with the
children during the school year, the summer, holidays, and vacations to provide a nurturing
environment and rich relationships with both of you; and (c) how you will communicate
with each other and work out differences of opinion.)
new text end

new text begin 2. We agree to the following plan for sharing the expenses of raising our child or children.
new text end

new text begin Guideline child support
new text end

new text begin The guideline child support for our child(ren) is $........ We agree that ............... will
pay the guideline child support amount.
new text end

new text begin (The Minnesota Child Support guidelines calculator can be accessed at ...............)
new text end

new text begin Attach the guidelines printout.
new text end

new text begin Non-Guideline Child Support
new text end

new text begin We agree to deviate from the guideline child support amount after considering the
following factors that support deviation (Make a check or "X" on all that apply):
new text end

new text begin ....
new text end
new text begin each of our earnings, income, circumstances, and resources, including
our real and personal property, but excluding income from excess
employment of the obligor or obligee that meets the criteria of Minnesota
Statutes, section 518A.29, paragraph (b);
new text end
new text begin ....
new text end
new text begin the extraordinary financial needs and resources, physical and emotional
condition, and educational needs of our child(ren) to be supported;
new text end
new text begin ....
new text end
new text begin the standard of living our child would enjoy if we were currently living
together, but recognizing that we now have separate households;
new text end
new text begin ....
new text end
new text begin whether our child resides for more than one year in a foreign country that
has a substantially higher or lower cost of living than this country;
new text end
new text begin ....
new text end
new text begin the income taxation dependency exemption and the financial benefit that
one of us receives from it;
new text end
new text begin ....
new text end
new text begin our agreed-upon plan for paying off our debts under paragraph 4;
new text end
new text begin ....
new text end
new text begin the obligor's total payments for court-ordered child support exceed the
limitations set forth in Minnesota Statutes, section 571.922;
new text end
new text begin ....
new text end
new text begin an allocation of the expenses of our children that enables us to maintain a
suitable place for our children taking into account our current standard
of living;
new text end
new text begin ....
new text end
new text begin the following factor: ...............
new text end

new text begin Make a check or "X" on one of the following:
new text end

new text begin ....
new text end
new text begin Because of the factor(s) we have checked above, we agree that ...............
will pay $....... in child support on the ............... of each month;
new text end
new text begin ....
new text end
new text begin We will be sharing the following children's expenses: (list items) with
............... paying ... percent and ............... paying ... percent; or
new text end
new text begin ....
new text end
new text begin We agree that no child support will be paid.
new text end

new text begin Make a check or "X" on all that apply:
new text end

new text begin ....
new text end
new text begin We agree to modify the amount of child support from time to time as our
circumstances may change.
new text end
new text begin ....
new text end
new text begin We agree to a biennial adjustment in the amount of child support to
be paid based on cost-of-living changes using a cost-of-living index
published by the Department of Labor.
new text end

new text begin (If either parent is receiving public assistance, the county attorney must approve
this agreement or it is not enforceable. The county attorney may ask the court to modify
any child support agreement you make if a minor or dependent child receives or begins to
receive public assistance.)
new text end

new text begin Caution
new text end

new text begin If your ex-spouse does not pay you the child support agreed upon in the declaration
of divorce, you should act promptly to address the matter because if you decide to go to
court, the court may not order the payment of arrears.
new text end

new text begin 3. We agree to the following plan for providing health insurance for our children.
new text end

new text begin 4. We agree to the following plan for paying off our debts. (This agreement will not
change your obligations to any creditor; it is simply an agreement between the two of you
about who will be paying a debt.)
new text end

new text begin 5. We agree to the following plan for dividing our property and assets. (If an allocation of
assets or debts, or an allocation of both, deviates from a nearly equal division, provide
the reasons for the allocation. Educate yourself about the difference between marital
and nonmarital property.)
new text end

new text begin a. Real estate (Include who will pay any mortgages, agreements to refinance a
mortgage, and make provisions for recording necessary documents with the county
recorder. This declaration of divorce does not transfer an interest in real estate. To
transfer interest in real estate, you must prepare a quitclaim deed, or a summary real
estate disposition judgment for the court administrator, either of which you would
need to file with the county recorder. It is advisable to seek professional assistance
about this process.)
new text end

new text begin b. Personal property, such as household furnishings, vehicles, and other objects
you own.
new text end

new text begin c. Financial assets, such as retirements, investments, stock, bank accounts, and
business interests. (This declaration of divorce has no effect on the division of
a retirement account or pension plan unless the account or plan receives proper
instructions. Many retirement assets cannot be divided unless they receive a
qualified domestic relations order from a court. Often a draft of such an order is
approved by the pension plan administrator before it is submitted to the court. It is
advisable to seek professional assistance about this process.)
new text end

new text begin 6. We agree to the following schedule of payments for spousal support (alimony) which
end upon the death of either of us or the remarriage of the payee spouse. (If there is a large
difference in your incomes and you agree to a minimal amount or no amount of spousal
support, provide the reasons for the spousal support agreement. For purposes of federal tax
deductibility, this agreement is deemed to be a divorce or separation instrument. Be aware
that, upon motion, a court has the authority to modify the amount of spousal support you
agree on here at any time during the time period in which spousal support is being paid.)
new text end

new text begin 7. We agree to the following plan to maintain health insurance coverage for both spouses.
(If one spouse is interested in continuing health insurance coverage under the other
spouse's employer-provided policy, certain laws apply, including a requirement that an
election must be made and submitted to the other spouse's employer and health insurance
carrier within 60 days of your divorce.)
new text end

new text begin 8. We agree to the following plan for paying any past joint tax liability or future tax
liability, or both, and we agree to the following plan for who will claim the child or
dependency exemptions or credits for our child or children.
new text end

new text begin 9. We have reached the following additional agreements which we wish to record:
new text end

new text begin (You may not use the cooperative private divorce program to legally change a name.
A name can be changed by a court only.)
new text end

new text begin Dissolution
new text end

new text begin We hereby agree to the dissolution of our marriage according to the preceding terms.
We hereby warrant that we have made complete disclosure to each other of all information
and documents that are important to these agreements, and that the list of assets and
debts contained in paragraph (1) are complete and accurate and there are no open court
cases involving these issues.
new text end

new text begin Signature, date:
new text end
new text begin .
new text end
new text begin Signature, date:
new text end
new text begin .
new text end

new text begin Subd. 12. new text end

new text begin Fee. new text end

new text begin The commissioner shall charge the participants of the cooperative
private divorce program a fee of $....... The fees are appropriated to the commissioner to
administer and manage the online program under this section.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 13. new text end

new text begin Data. new text end

new text begin Data collected under this section is classified as private data on
individuals, as defined in section 13.02, subdivision 12.
new text end

Sec. 2.

new text begin [518.81] PARENT EDUCATION; COOPERATIVE PRIVATE DIVORCE.
new text end

new text begin Subdivision 1. new text end

new text begin Parent education requirements. new text end

new text begin Married participants who are
parents of minor children shall attend a four-hour parent education program prior to
receiving a certificate of marital dissolution under section 518.80, subdivision 5. The
parent education program must provide information on:
new text end

new text begin (1) constructive parenting in the dissolution process, including risk factors for
families, how marriage dissolution affects children of different ages, and skills parents
can learn to increase cooperation and minimize conflict, particularly conflict arising when
parents place children in the middle, creating conflicting loyalty. This component of the
program must be aimed at increasing a parent's sensitivity to a child's needs and at giving
a parent skills to improve the parent's and the child's adjustment to the dissolution of
the marriage. The primary emphasis of the program must be on constructive parenting
information, and its content must be consistent with and promote the principles of
cooperative private divorce as described in section 518.80, subdivision 9;
new text end

new text begin (2) assessing if a parent is perpetrating domestic violence against the other parent
and when cooperation in co-parenting may not be desirable because of safety risks, and
providing information on local domestic violence resources;
new text end

new text begin (3) information on the option of reconciliation, including research on reconciliation
interests among couples considering marriage dissolution, the potential benefits of
avoiding marriage dissolution, resources to assist with reconciliation for interested
couples, and information on when the risk of domestic violence should exclude
consideration of reconciliation; and
new text end

new text begin (4) an overview of the legal process of marital dissolution and the advantages
and disadvantages of litigation and alternative processes, including but not limited to
mediation, collaborative and cooperative law, and restorative circles.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 2. new text end

new text begin Program requirements. new text end

new text begin (a) A parent education program under this section
may be conducted in person or online if the online program meets the criteria in this
subdivision. Parents may not be required to attend in-person classes together.
new text end

new text begin (b) A program must meet acceptable standards of scientific evidence for effectiveness
in reducing parental conflict and improving a child's adjustment in marriage dissolution
situations. These standards may be met either by a listing on the National Registry
of Evidence-Based Programs and Practices or by approval by the Bureau of Mediation
Services. Approved programs must submit an experimental or quasi-experimental research
study demonstrating reduced parental conflict and improved adjustment of children. In
using a quasi-experimental research design, a program may submit a study demonstrating
outcomes that surpass those of control groups in published experimental studies.
new text end

new text begin (c) A program already implemented by the district courts in Minnesota as of January
1, 2016, is an eligible program under this subdivision until September 1, 2018, if the
program includes the education requirements in this section. After September 1, 2018,
those programs must also meet the scientific criteria specified under paragraph (b).
new text end

new text begin Subd. 3. new text end

new text begin Confidentiality. new text end

new text begin Unless all parties agree in writing, statements made by
a party during participation in a parent education program are inadmissible as evidence
for any purpose, including impeachment. No record may be made regarding a party's
participation in a parent education program, except a record of completion of the program
as required under this section. Instructors shall not disclose information regarding
an individual participant obtained as a result of participation in a parent education
program. Parent education instructors may not be subpoenaed or called as witnesses in
court proceedings.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 4. new text end

new text begin Costs and program providers. new text end

new text begin Each parent education program must
enable persons to have timely and reasonable access to education sessions. A party who
qualifies for a waiver of filing fees under section 563.01 is exempt from paying the parent
education program fee. Program providers shall implement a sliding fee scale.
new text end

Sec. 3.

new text begin [518.82] COOPERATIVE PRIVATE DIVORCE SCREENING; NOTICE;
FORM.
new text end

new text begin The commissioner of the Bureau of Mediation Services shall make available the
following notice for use in the cooperative private divorce program under section 518.80
before full access to the program is granted to a user. The data maintained by the coercion
screening tool are private data on individuals, as defined in section 13.02, subdivision 12,
and shall not be tracked or recorded by any means at any time.
new text end

new text begin COERCION SCREENING TOOL
new text end

new text begin WHEN NOT TO USE COOPERATIVE PRIVATE DIVORCE
new text end

new text begin Cooperative private divorce is not for everyone. It is probably not appropriate for you if
any of the following statements are true. Choices you make in this section are private. No
record of any choice you may make in this section will be recorded or tracked.
new text end

new text begin ...
new text end
new text begin You are feeling undue pressure or intimidation from your spouse to use
cooperative private divorce.
new text end
new text begin ...
new text end
new text begin You have serious doubts about your spouse's willingness to reach agreements
that are best for everyone in the family.
new text end
new text begin ...
new text end
new text begin Your spouse has made threats of physical or emotional harm during discussions
of divorce.
new text end
new text begin ...
new text end
new text begin Your spouse has unilaterally ruled out involving any professionals in your
divorce process even though you want this kind of support.
new text end
new text begin ...
new text end
new text begin Your spouse is telling you not to discuss your divorce options with anyone.
new text end

new text begin Information on resources can be provided upon request if any of the above risks are
occurring.
new text end

Sec. 4. new text beginREPORT.
new text end

new text begin The commissioner of the Bureau of Mediation Services shall conduct an evaluation
of the cooperative private divorce program after the first and second years of operation.
The areas of evaluation shall include, but not be limited to:
new text end

new text begin (1) number of users of the cooperative private divorce program, both initially and
transferring to and from a court divorce;
new text end

new text begin (2) costs of the cooperative private divorce program to government and families
in comparison to court divorces;
new text end

new text begin (3) user satisfaction with the cooperative private divorce program process and with
their agreements; and
new text end

new text begin (4) any correlation between use of the cooperative private divorce program system
and subsequent use of court services for the same case or related cases.
new text end

Sec. 5. new text beginAPPROPRIATION; BUREAU OF MEDIATION SERVICES.
new text end

new text begin $....... is appropriated from the general fund in fiscal year 2017 to the commissioner
of the Bureau of Mediation Services to develop and implement the online cooperative
private divorce program under section 1. The cooperative private divorce program must
be made available on the Bureau of Mediation Services Web site by January 1, 2017.
new text end

ARTICLE 2

CONFORMING CHANGES

Section 1.

Minnesota Statutes 2014, section 62A.21, subdivision 2a, is amended to read:


Subd. 2a.

Continuation privilege.

Every policy described in subdivision 1 shall
contain a provision which permits continuation of coverage under the policy for the
insured's former spouse and dependent children upon entry of a valid decree of dissolution
of marriagenew text begin or a certificate of marital dissolutionnew text end. The coverage shall be continued until
the earlier of the following dates:

deleted text begin (a)deleted text endnew text begin (1)new text end the date the insured's former spouse becomes covered under any other group
health plan; or

deleted text begin (b)deleted text endnew text begin (2)new text end the date coverage would otherwise terminate under the policy.

If the coverage is provided under a group policy, any required premium contributions
for the coverage shall be paid by the insured on a monthly basis to the group policyholder
for remittance to the insurer. The policy must require the group policyholder to, upon
request, provide the insured with written verification from the insurer of the cost of this
coverage promptly at the time of eligibility for this coverage and at any time during the
continuation period. In no event shall the amount of premium charged exceed 102 percent
of the cost to the plan for such period of coverage for other similarly situated spouses
and dependent children with respect to whom the marital relationship has not dissolved,
without regard to whether such cost is paid by the employer or employee.

Upon request by the insured's former spouse or dependent child, a health carrier
must provide the instructions necessary to enable the child or former spouse to elect
continuation of coverage.

Sec. 2.

Minnesota Statutes 2014, section 518.191, is amended by adding a subdivision
to read:


new text begin Subd. 6. new text end

new text begin Summary real estate disposition judgment following certificate of
marital dissolution.
new text end

new text begin A summary real estate disposition judgment may also be obtained
after a certificate of marital dissolution is issued in accordance with section 518.80,
subdivision 5. Upon the filing of the certificate the district court administrator shall
provide to a participant upon request certified copies of a summary real estate disposition
judgment submitted by the participants that contains the following information:
new text end

new text begin (1) the dates of the participants' marriage and of the issuance of the certificate of
marital dissolution;
new text end

new text begin (2) the legal description of each parcel of real estate;
new text end

new text begin (3) the name or names of the persons awarded an interest in each parcel of real estate
and a description of the interest awarded;
new text end

new text begin (4) liens, mortgages, encumbrances, or other interests in the real estate described in
the declaration of divorce; and
new text end

new text begin (5) triggering or contingent events set forth in the declaration of divorce affecting
the disposition of each parcel of real estate.
new text end

Sec. 3.

Minnesota Statutes 2014, section 518.195, is amended by adding a subdivision
to read:


new text begin Subd. 5. new text end

new text begin Issuance of qualified domestic relations order following certificate of
marital dissolution.
new text end

new text begin A certificate of marital dissolution issued in accordance with section
518.80, subdivision 5, may be filed with the district court administrator. Upon the filing
of the certificate, the district court administrator shall enter a decree of dissolution and
shall issue a qualified domestic relations order submitted by the participants and approved
by the retirement plan administrator for the assignment of an interest in a retirement plan
as provided in the declaration of divorce.
new text end

Sec. 4.

Minnesota Statutes 2014, section 518A.43, subdivision 1, is amended to read:


Subdivision 1.

General factors.

Among other reasons, deviation from the
presumptive child support obligation computed under section 518A.34 is intended to
encourage prompt and regular payments of child support and to prevent either parent
or the joint children from living in poverty. In addition to the child support guidelines
and other factors used to calculate the child support obligation under section 518A.34,
the court must take into consideration the following factors in setting or modifying child
support or in determining whether to deviate upward or downward from the presumptive
child support obligation:

(1) all earnings, income, circumstances, and resources of each parent, including real
and personal property, but excluding income from excess employment of the obligor or
obligee that meets the criteria of section 518A.29, paragraph (b);

(2) the extraordinary financial needs and resources, physical and emotional
condition, and educational needs of the child to be supported;

(3) the standard of living the child would enjoy if the parents were currently living
together, but recognizing that the parents now have separate households;

(4) whether the child resides in a foreign country for more than one year that has a
substantially higher or lower cost of living than this country;

(5) which parent receives the income taxation dependency exemption and the
financial benefit the parent receives from it;

(6) the parents' debts as provided in subdivision 2; deleted text beginanddeleted text end

(7) the obligor's total payments for court-ordered child support exceed the limitations
set forth in section 571.922deleted text begin.deleted text endnew text begin; and
new text end

new text begin (8) an allocation of expenses of the children in a parenting plan under section
518.1705, subdivision 8, or in a declaration of dissolution under section 518.80,
subdivision 6, paragraph (a), that enables both parents to maintain a suitable place for their
children, taking into account their current standard of living.
new text end