HBA-SEB C.S.H.B. 1622 76(R)BILL ANALYSIS Office of House Bill AnalysisC.S.H.B. 1622 By: Goodman Juvenile Justice and Family Issues 3/28/1999 Committee Report (Substituted) 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. C.S.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, as follows: Sec. 102.003. GENERAL STANDING TO FILE SUIT. (a) Authorizes an original suit affecting the parent-child relationship to be filed at any time by a person, other than a foster parent, 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 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 12, rather than 18, months ending not more than 90 days preceding the date of the filing of the petition. Makes conforming changes. (b) Prohibits the court from requiring that the time necessary for standing under Subsection (a) is to be continuous and uninterrupted for the purposes of computation. Requires the court to consider the child's principal residence during the relevant time preceding the date of commencing the suit. 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 Section 107.0135, Family Code, to make a nonsubstantive change. SECTION 4. 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 5. Amends Section 107.015, Family Code, as follows: Sec. 107.015. New title: ATTORNEY AD LITEM FEES. Makes nonsubstantive changes. SECTION 6. Amends Section 153.434, Family Code, to create Paragraphs (A) and (B) from existing text. Redesignates Subdivision (3) to (2). Makes conforming changes. SECTION 7. 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 8. 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 9. Effective date: September 1, 1999. Makes application of this Act prospective. SECTION 10. Emergency clause. COMPARISON OF ORIGINAL TO SUBSTITUTE The substitute modifies the original in SECTION 1 by modifying Section 102.003(a)(9), Family Code, to delete proposed new language requiring that, in order for a person to have standing to file a suit terminating a parent-child relationship, the amount of time a child has resided with a person must be computed within a specific 12-month period. Provides that Subdivision (9) applies to a person other than a foster parent. In subdivision (12), decreases from 18 months to 12 months the period of time during which a child must have resided in a foster parent's home in order for the foster parent to have standing in the suit. Adds Subsection (b) to prohibit the court from requiring that the time necessary for standing under Subsection (a) is to be continuous and uninterrupted for the purposes of computation. Subsection (b) also requires the court to consider the child's principal residence during the relevant time preceding the date of commencing the suit. Makes a nonsubstantive change. The substitute modifies the original in SECTION 3 to delete proposed Section 107.004, Family Code. The deleted text proposed the authorization of fees for the compensation of a guardian ad litem and set forth the parties responsible for payment of the fees. The substitute modifies the original by redesignating SECTIONS 4-11 of the original to SECTIONS 3-10 of the substitute.