HBA-SEB H.B. 1622 76(R) BILL ANALYSIS Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 1622 By: Goodman Juvenile Justice and Family Issues 2/26/1999 Introduced BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE Over the years, the Texas Legislature has modified the Family Code to reflect changes in policy concerning lawsuits affecting the parent-child relationship. These changes affected the requirements for a person's standing to file a suit for conservatorship of a child, the issuance of temporary restraining orders and injunctions, and attorney ad litem fees and requirements. For example, at one time any person with an interest in the child could file a suit for conservatorship, but now there are more restrictions. Some sections of the Family Code may need clarification due to the many changes enacted during previous legislative sessions. H.B. 1622 clarifies certain procedures regarding standing to file a suit for conservatorship, temporary restraining orders and injunctions, attorney ad litem fees and requirements, and circumstances under which the parent-child relationship is terminated. RULEMAKING AUTHORITY It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that this bill does not expressly delegate any additional rulemaking authority to a state officer, department, agency, or institution. SECTION BY SECTION ANALYSIS SECTION 1. Amends Section 102.003, Family Code, to authorize an original suit affecting the parent-child relationship to be filed at any time by a person who has had actual care, control, and possession of a child or a person with whom the child and the child's guardian, managing conservator, or parent have resided. Provides that in order for one of those persons to file a suit, the child must have resided with that person for at least six months during a 12-month period ending not more than 90 days preceding the date of the filing of the petition. Authorizes a foster parent of the child placed by the Department of Protective and Regulatory Services to file suit if the child has lived in the foster parent's home for at least 18 months during a 24-month period ending not more than 90 days preceding the date of the filing of the petition. Makes conforming changes. SECTION 2. Amends Sections 105.001(b) and (d), Family Code, as follows: (b) Provides that a temporary restraining order or temporary injunction granted under this section (Temporary Orders Before Final Order) need not define the injury or state why it is irreparable, state why the order was granted without notice, nor include an order setting the cause for trial on the merits with respect to the ultimate relief requested. Makes a conforming change. (d) Deletes existing text which authorizes a court to dispense with the necessity of setting the cause for trial on the merits with respect to the ultimate relief requested. Makes conforming changes. SECTION 3. Amends Subchapter A, Chapter 107, Family Code, by adding Section 107.004, as follows: Sec. 107.004. GUARDIAN AD LITEM FEES. (a) Authorizes a guardian ad litem appointed to represent a child or parent under this subchapter (Guardian Ad Litem Representation) to be awarded reasonable fees and expenses in an amount set by the court to compensate the guardian ad litem for the duties performed. Requires the parents of the child to pay the fees and expenses unless the parents are indigent. (b) Authorizes the court or associate judge to order the guardian ad litem's fees and expenses to be paid by one or more of the parties if the court or associate judge determines that one or more of those parties are able to defray the costs as determined by the reasonable and customary fees for similar services in the county of jurisdiction. Authorizes the court or associate judge to order one or more of those parties, before final hearing, to pay the sums into the registry of the court or into an account authorized by the court for the use and benefit of the guardian ad litem on order of the court. Authorizes the sums to be taxed as costs to be assessed against one or more of the parties. SECTION 4. Amends Section 107.0135, Family Code, to make a nonsubstantive change. SECTION 5. Amends Section 107.014(a), Family Code, to require an attorney ad litem appointed under this subchapter to represent a child to become familiar with the American Bar Association's standards of practice for lawyers who represent children in abuse and neglect cases. Makes a conforming change. SECTION 6. Amends Section 107.015, Family Code, as follows: Sec. 107.015. New title: ATTORNEY AD LITEM FEES. Makes nonsubstantive changes. SECTION 7. Amends Section 153.434, Family Code, to create Paragraphs (A) and (B) from existing text. Redesignates Subdivision (3) to (2). Makes conforming changes. SECTION 8. Amends Section 156.104(a), Family Code, to delete existing text which authorizes a court to modify an order that designates a sole managing conservator if a parent of the child requests appointment as a joint managing conservator and the court finds that retention of a sole managing conservatorship would be detrimental to the child's welfare. Makes conforming changes. SECTION 9. Amends Section 161.001, Family Code, to authorize a court to order termination of the parent-child relationship if the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that the parent has contumaciously refused to submit to a reasonable and lawful order of a court under Subchapter D, Chapter 261 (Investigation of Report of Child Abuse or Neglect), rather than Chapter 264 (Child Welfare Services). Authorizes the termination of the parent-child relationship if the parent has been convicted or has been placed on community supervision for the violation of Section 19.04, Penal Code (Manslaughter), if the parent has continued to abuse a controlled substance after completion of a court-ordered substance treatment program, or if the parent has knowingly engaged in criminal conduct that has resulted in the parent's conviction of an offense and confinement or imprisonment and inability to care for the child for at least two years from the date of filing the petition. Redesignates Subdivisions (1)(L)(iv)-(xii) to (1)(L)(v)-(xiii). Makes conforming and nonsubstantive changes. SECTION 10. Effective date: September 1, 1999. Makes application of this Act prospective. SECTION 11. Emergency clause.