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HF 1135

1st Engrossment - 87th Legislature (2011 - 2012) Posted on 03/19/2012 03:12pm

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

Bill Text Versions

Engrossments
Introduction Posted on 03/14/2011
1st Engrossment Posted on 03/19/2012

Current Version - 1st Engrossment

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A bill for an act
relating to marriage; requiring participation in a marriage dissolution education
program in marriage dissolution or legal separation proceedings involving minor
children; amending Minnesota Statutes 2010, sections 480.30, by adding a
subdivision; 518.091, subdivision 2; proposing coding for new law in Minnesota
Statutes, chapter 518; repealing Minnesota Statutes 2010, sections 13.465,
subdivision 9; 518.157.

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

Section 1.

Minnesota Statutes 2010, section 480.30, is amended by adding a
subdivision to read:


new text begin Subd. 4. new text end

new text begin Parenting plans. new text end

new text begin The Supreme Court's judicial education program must
include ongoing parenting plan training for district court judges.
new text end

Sec. 2.

Minnesota Statutes 2010, section 518.091, subdivision 2, is amended to read:


Subd. 2.

Parent education program requirements.

Every summons involving
custody or parenting time of a minor child new text beginin a marriage dissolution or legal separation
proceeding
new text endmust include the notice in this subdivision.

NOTICE OF PARENT EDUCATION PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS

UNDER MINNESOTA STATUTES, SECTION deleted text begin518.157deleted text endnew text begin 518.159new text end, IN A
deleted text begin CONTESTEDdeleted text end PROCEEDING INVOLVING CUSTODY OR PARENTING TIME OF
A MINOR CHILD, THE PARTIES MUST deleted text beginBEGIN PARTICIPATION INdeleted text end new text beginCOMPLETE
new text endA PARENT EDUCATION PROGRAM THAT MEETS MINIMUM STANDARDS
deleted text begin PROMULGATED BY THE MINNESOTA SUPREME COURTdeleted text end new text beginBEFORE THE
FIRST COURT APPEARANCE OR HEARING OR
new text endWITHIN 30 DAYS AFTER
THE FIRST FILING WITH THE COURTnew text begin, WHICHEVER IS SOONERnew text end. deleted text beginIN SOME
DISTRICTS, PARENTING EDUCATION MAY BE REQUIRED IN ALL CUSTODY
OR PARENTING PROCEEDINGS.
deleted text end YOU MAY CONTACT THE DISTRICT COURT
ADMINISTRATOR FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION REGARDING THIS
REQUIREMENT AND THE AVAILABILITY OF PARENT EDUCATION PROGRAMS.

Sec. 3.

new text begin [518.159] MARRIAGE DISSOLUTION AND LEGAL SEPARATION
EDUCATION REQUIREMENTS.
new text end

new text begin Subdivision 1. new text end

new text begin Application. new text end

new text begin This section applies to marriage dissolution and legal
separation proceedings involving minor children.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 2. new text end

new text begin Participation requirements. new text end

new text begin (a) Parents shall attend a four-hour marriage
dissolution education program. Unless otherwise ordered by the court, participation in
the program must be completed before the first court appearance or hearing, or within 30
days of the first filing with the court, whichever is sooner. At the first court appearance
or hearing, the court must verify course completion. If a party has not completed the
course, the court must order a timetable for completion, or may exempt a party from
completing the course requirement upon a showing of good cause. If a case is settled
without a court hearing, each party shall submit a certificate of completion along with the
marital termination agreement or stipulated judgment and decree. The court may exempt
a party from completing the course requirement upon a showing of good cause. For
purposes of this paragraph, good cause includes an inability to speak the language used
in the program, a determination that taking the course is not in a child's best interests, or
that the party cannot afford the course fee. Judges and referees may also order parent
education in cases involving unmarried parents.
new text end

new text begin (b) The party must submit a certificate provided by the marriage dissolution
education program verifying completion of the program. The certificate must be titled
"Certificate of Completion of Education Requirement" and contain the following language:
new text end

new text begin "This certifies that .............. (party's name) has successfully completed the course
.............. (course name), which qualifies as a marriage dissolution education program in
accordance with Minnesota Statutes, section 518.159."
new text end

new text begin Subd. 3. new text end

new text begin Program requirements. new text end

new text begin (a) An education program under this section may
be conducted in person or online if the program meets the criteria in this subdivision.
new text end

new text begin (b) A program must meet acceptable standards of scientific evidence for
effectiveness in reducing parental conflict and improving children'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 approval by the Minnesota couples
on the brink project created under section 137.32. Approved programs must submit a new
or past empirical study, using an experimental or quasi-experimental research design,
demonstrating reduced parental conflict and improved adjustment of children. A parent
education program already implemented by the district courts in Minnesota as of January
1, 2012, is an eligible program under this subdivision until September 1, 2014, if the
program includes the information required under paragraph (c). On and after September 1,
2014, those programs must also meet the scientific criteria specified in this paragraph.
new text end

new text begin (c) The 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 that involves
children in loyalty binds. This component of the program must be aimed at increasing
the parents' sensitivity to children's needs and at giving them skills to improve their own
and the children's adjustment to the breakup of the family. Information on constructive
parenting must be the primary emphasis of the program. The program must also include
information to help parents assess whether they are involved in domestic violence,
information on local domestic violence resources, and information on situations when
cooperation in coparenting may not be desirable because of safety risks;
new text end

new text begin (2) the legal process of marriage dissolution, including an overview of the
adversarial litigation process; the nature and availability of alternative processes such as
mediation, collaborative and cooperative law, and restorative circles; and the advantages
and disadvantages of alternative processes, including available research on the satisfaction
levels, reduced conflict, and better parenting cooperation by parties who avoid adversarial
proceedings; and
new text end

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

new text begin The components of the program under clauses (2) and (3) must each constitute no
less than five percent of the program time.
new text end

new text begin (d) An education program not listed on the National Registry of Evidence-Based
Programs and Practices that is denied approval by the Minnesota couples on the brink
project may appeal to the state court administrator for approval as a course meeting the
requirements of this subdivision.
new text end

new text begin (e) A judicial district may request an exemption from the requirements of this section
from the state court administrator for good cause if there are no available, appropriate, or
affordable education programs in the district.
new text end

new text begin (f) A program that is conducted in person must not require the parties to attend the
same parent education sessions.
new text end

new text begin (g) The couples on the brink project must disseminate to court administrators a list
of programs that meet the requirements of the subdivision.
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 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 must implement a sliding fee scale.
new text end

new text begin EFFECTIVE DATE. new text end

new text begin This section is effective January 1, 2013, and applies to
proceedings in which the initial pleading is served or, in the case of a joint petition, signed
by both parties, on or after that date.
new text end

Sec. 4. new text begin REPEALER.
new text end

new text begin Minnesota Statutes 2010, sections 13.465, subdivision 9; and 518.157, new text end new text begin are repealed.
new text end

new text begin EFFECTIVE DATE. new text end

new text begin This section is effective January 1, 2013.
new text end