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SF 3425

as introduced - 91st Legislature (2019 - 2020) Posted on 02/20/2020 03:32pm

KEY: stricken = removed, old language.
underscored = added, new language.

Current Version - as introduced

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A bill for an act
relating to family law; updating the notice to parties in custody and parenting time
cases; amending Minnesota Statutes 2018, section 518.168.

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

Section 1.

Minnesota Statutes 2018, section 518.168, is amended to read:


518.168 HEARINGS.

(a) Custody proceedings shall receive priority in being set for hearing.

(b) The court may tax as costs the payment of necessary travel and other expenses
incurred by a person whose presence at the hearing the court deems necessary to determine
the best interests of the child.

(c) The court without a jury shall determine questions of law and fact. If it finds that a
public hearing may be detrimental to the child's best interests, the court may exclude the
public from a custody hearing, but may admit any person who has a direct interest in the
particular case.

(d) If the court finds it necessary for the protection of the child's welfare that the record
of an interview, report, investigation, or testimony in a custody proceeding be kept secret,
the court may make an appropriate order sealing the record.

(e) deleted text beginAtdeleted text endnew text begin Prior tonew text end the first hearing or deleted text beginatdeleted text end an initial appearance before the court under this
chapter, new text beginin conjunction with the mailing of the initial case management conference notice
if one is provided or with the notice of filing of a matter under this chapter,
new text endthe court shall
provide an information sheet to the parties explaining:

(1) in cases where alternative dispute resolution is required under General Rules of
Practice, rule 310.01, that the parties have the choice of using alternative dispute resolution
methods including mediation, arbitration, and other processes to resolve the divorce or
custody matter;

(2) how mediation new text beginworks new text endand other available forms of alternative dispute resolution for
family law cases deleted text beginworkdeleted text endnew text begin can be used instead of the court processnew text end;

(3) that the parties may choose which method of alternative dispute resolution to use;
and

(4) that the court administrator is able to provide additional information about resources
for alternative dispute resolution.

Each party deleted text beginwho is present at the first hearing or at an initial appearancedeleted text end must receive a copy
of the information sheet from the court.

(f) The state court administrator shall prepare an alternative dispute resolution information
sheet that the court must use to satisfy the requirements of paragraph (e).new text begin The information
sheet must provide a definition and explanation of mediation as well as the parties' option
to create their own parenting plan under section 518.1705. The information sheet must
explain that early neutral evaluation is not required. The information sheet in this section
must be provided to all parties even if the parties are represented by an attorney. The
information sheet must provide an explanation of mediation and an explanation of early
neutral evaluation to assist the participants in family court to make an informed decision
about the risks and benefits of either process. The definitions contained in the information
sheet shall not be provided in such a way as to encourage or coerce the participants to choose
one process over the other. The information sheet must inform the participants that mediation
is a facilitative process that does not coerce the participants to reach an agreement because
a mediator may not impose his or her own judgment on the issues for that of the parties.
The information sheet required by this paragraph must inform the participants that early
neutral evaluation is an adjudicative process that has a primary focus to tell the parties what
would happen in court. The neutrals evaluate the case and provide a candid assessment of
the strengths and weaknesses of the case.
new text end