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S.B. 116





Sponsor: Millie M. Peterson

9    This act affects sections of Utah Code Annotated 1953 as follows:
10    AMENDS:
11         30-3-38, as enacted by Chapter 255, Laws of Utah 1996
12         63-63a-8, as last amended by Chapters 1 and 255, Laws of Utah 1996
13    Be it enacted by the Legislature of the state of Utah:
14        Section 1. Section 30-3-38 is amended to read:
15         30-3-38. Pilot Program for Expedited Visitation Enforcement.
16        (1) There is established an Expedited Visitation Enforcement Pilot Program in the third
17    judicial district to be administered by the Administrative Office of the Courts from July 1, 1996,
18    to July 1, [1997] 2000.
19        [(2) This pilot program is to resolve visitation problems on an expedited basis by enabling
20    a parent who alleges that his court-ordered visitation rights have been violated to file a request for
21    enforcement of the order, have a conference scheduled with the other parent and a private mediator
22    to address visitation issues within 15 days of filing the request, and have the private mediator
23    assess the situation, facilitate an agreement on visitation between the parties, and make an
24    appropriate recommendation to the court on a timely basis. Within 15 days, an agreement on
25    visitation shall become a temporary order under the signature of the court.]
26        (2) As used in this section:
27        (a) "Mediator" means a person who:

1        (i) is qualified to mediate visitation disputes under criteria established by the
2    Administrative Office of the Courts; and
3        (ii) agrees to follow billing guidelines established by the Administrative Office of the
4    Courts and this section.
5        (b) "Services to facilitate visitation" or "services" means services designed to assist
6    families in resolving visitation problems through:
7        (i) counseling;
8        (ii) supervised visitation;
9        (iii) neutral drop-off and pick-up;
10        (iv) educational classes; and
11        (v) other related activities.
12        (3) (a) Under this pilot program, if a parent files a motion in the third district court alleging
13    that court-ordered visitation rights are being violated, the clerk of the court, after assigning the case
14    to a judge, shall refer the case to the administrator of this pilot program for assignment to a
15    mediator.
16        (b) Upon receipt of a case, the mediator shall:
17        (i) meet with the parents to address visitation issues within 15 days of the motion being
18    filed;
19        (ii) assess the situation;
20        (iii) facilitate an agreement on visitation between the parents; and
21        (iv) determine whether a referral to a service provider under Subsection (3)(c) is
22    warranted.
23        (c) While a case is in mediation, a mediator may refer the parents to a service provider
24    designated by the Department of Human Services for services to facilitate visitation if:
25        (i) the services may be of significant benefit to the parents; or
26        (ii) (A) a mediated agreement between the parents is unlikely; and
27        (B) the services may facilitate an agreement.
28        (d) At anytime during mediation, a mediator shall terminate mediation and transfer the
29    case to the administrator of the pilot program for referral to the judge to whom the case was
30    assigned under Subsection (2) if:
31        (i) a written agreement between the parents is reached; or

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1        (ii) the parents are unable to reach an agreement through mediation; and
2        (A) the parents have received services to facilitate visitation;
3        (B) both parents object to receiving services to facilitate visitation; or
4        (C) the parents are unlikely to benefit from receiving services to facilitate visitation.
5        (e) Upon receiving a case from the administrator of the pilot program, a judge may:
6        (i) review the agreement of the parents and, if acceptable, sign it as an order;
7        (ii) order the parents to receive services to facilitate visitation;
8        (iii) proceed with the case; or
9        (iv) take other appropriate action.
10        (4) (a) If a parent makes a particularized allegation of physical or sexual abuse of a child
11    who is the subject of a visitation order against the other parent or a member of the other parent's
12    household to a mediator or service provider, the mediator or service provider shall immediately
13    report that information to:
14        (i) the judge assigned to the case who may immediately issue orders and take other
15    appropriate action to resolve the allegation and protect the child; and
16        (ii) the Division of Family Services within the Department of Human Services in the
17    manner required by Title 62A, Chapter 4a, Part 4, Child Abuse or Neglect Reporting
18    Requirements.
19        (b) If an allegation under Subsection (4)(a) is made against a parent with visitation rights
20    or a member of that parent's household, visitation by that parent shall be supervised until:
21        (i) the allegation has been resolved; or
22        (ii) a court orders otherwise.
23        (c) Notwithstanding an allegation under Subsection (4)(a), a mediator may continue to
24    mediate visitation problems and a service provider may continue to provide services to facilitate
25    visitation unless otherwise ordered by a court.
26        (5) (a) The Department of Human Services may contract with one more entities in
27    accordance with Title 63, Chapter 56, Utah Procurement Code, to provide:
28        (i) services to facilitate visitation;
29        (ii) case management services; and
30        (iii) administrative services.
31        (b) An entity who contracts with the Department of Human Services under Subsection

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1    (5)(a) shall:
2        (i) be qualified to provide one or more of the services listed in Subsection (5)(a); and
3        (ii) agree to follow billing guidelines established by the Department of Human Services
4    and this section.
5        (6) (a) Except as provided in Subsection (6)(b), the cost of mediation and the cost of
6    services to facilitate visitation shall be:
7        (i) reduced to a sum certain;
8        (ii) divided equally between the parents; and
9        (iii) charged against each parent taking into account the ability of that parent to pay under
10    billing guidelines adopted in accordance with this section.
11        (b) (i) A judge may order a parent to pay an amount in excess of that provided for in
12    Subsection (6)(a) if the parent:
13        (A) failed to participate in good faith in mediation or services to facilitate visitation; or
14        (B) made an unfounded assertion or claim of physical or sexual abuse of a child.
15        (c) (i) The cost of mediation and services to facilitate visitation may be charged to parents
16    at periodic intervals.
17        (ii) Mediation and services to facilitate visitation may only be terminated on the ground
18    of nonpayment if both parents are delinquent.
19        [(3)] (7) (a) The Judicial Council [shall] may make rules to implement and administer the
20    provisions of this pilot program related to mediation.
21        [(4) The parties to a proceeding initiated in the third district court to enforce the terms of
22    a visitation order shall participate in this pilot program, unless one of the parties:]
23        [(a) makes an allegation of child sexual abuse implicating the other party, in which case,
24    the mediator shall refer the matter to the court and report the allegation to the Division of Family
25    Services consistent with Title 62A, Chapter 4a, Part 4, Child Abuse or Neglect Reporting
26    Requirements; or]
27        [(b) is unwilling to participate in the program, in which case, the matter shall be referred
28    to the court.]
29        (b) The Department of Human Services may make rules to implement and administer the
30    provisions of this pilot program related to services to facilitate visitation.
31        [(5)] (8) (a) The Administrative Office of the Courts shall adopt [a program] outcome

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1    measures to evaluate the effectiveness of the mediation component of this pilot program. Progress
2    reports shall be provided to the Judiciary Interim Committee [in] by August [1996] 1998 and as
3    requested thereafter by the committee. At least once during this pilot program, the Administrative
4    Office of the Courts shall present to the committee the results of a survey that measures the
5    effectiveness of the program in terms of increased compliance with visitation orders and the
6    responses of interested persons.
7        (b) The Department of Human Services shall adopt outcome measures to evaluate the
8    effectiveness of the services component of this pilot program. Progress reports shall be provided
9    to the Judiciary Interim Committee by August 1998 and as requested thereafter by the committee.
10        (c) The Administrative Office of the Courts and the Department of Human Services may
11    adopt joint outcome measures and file joint reports to satisfy the requirements of Subsections 8(a)
12    and (b).
13        [(6)] (9) (a) The Department of Human Services shall apply for federal funds designated
14    for visitation, if such funds are available. [The department shall contract any federal funds
15    received under this application to the Administrative Office of the Courts for the administration
16    of this pilot program.]
17        (b) This pilot program shall be funded through funds received under Subsection (a), the
18    Children's Legal Defense Account as established in Section 63-63a-8, or other available funding.
19    Without funding, the pilot program may not proceed.
20        Section 2. Section 63-63a-8 is amended to read:
21         63-63a-8. Children's Legal Defense Account.
22        (1) There is created a restricted account within the General Fund known as the Children's
23    Legal Defense Account.
24        (2) The purpose of the Children's Legal Defense Account is to provide for programs that
25    protect and defend the rights, safety, and quality of life of children.
26        (3) The Legislature shall appropriate money from the account for the administrative and
27    related costs of the following programs:
28        (a) implementing the Mandatory Educational Course on Children's Needs for Divorcing
29    Parents relating to the effects of divorce on children as provided in Sections 30-3-4, 30-3-7,
30    30-3-10.3, 30-3-11.3, 30-3-15.3, and 30-3-18, and the Mediation Pilot Program - Child Custody
31    or Visitation as provided in Sections 30-3-15.3, 30-3-18, and 30-3-19 through 30-3-31;

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1        (b) implementing the use of guardians ad litem as provided in Sections 30-3-5.2,
2    78-3a-912, 78-3a-318, 78-11-6, and 78-7-9; the training of guardian ad litems and volunteers as
3    provided in Section 78-3a-912; and termination of parental rights as provided in Sections
4    78-3a-516, 78-3a-518, 78-3a-903, and Title 78, Chapter 3f. This account may not be used to
5    supplant funding for the guardian ad litem program in the juvenile court as provided in Section
6    78-3a-912; and
7        [(c) requiring community service for violation of visitation orders or failure to pay child
8    support as provided in Section 78-32-12.1;]
9        [(d) enforcing and administering the pilot program as provided in Section 78-32-12.3
10    establishing the sanctions for substantial noncompliance with visitation orders as provided in
11    Section 78-32-12.2; and]
12        [(e)] (c) implementing and administering the Child Visitation Pilot Program as provided
13    in Section 30-3-38.
14        (4) The following withheld fees shall be allocated only to the Children's Legal Defense
15    Account and used only for the purposes provided in Subsections (3)(a) through (c):
16        (a) the additional $10 fee withheld on every marriage license issued in the state of Utah
17    as provided in Section 17-5-214; and
18        (b) a fee of $2 shall be withheld from the existing civil filing fee collected on any
19    complaint, affidavit, or petition in a civil, probate, or adoption matter in every court of record.
20        (5) The Division of Finance shall allocate the monies described in Subsection (4) from the
21    General Fund to the Children's Legal Defense Account.
22        (6) Any funds in excess of $200,000 remaining in the restricted account as of June 30 of
23    any fiscal year shall lapse into the General Fund.

Legislative Review Note
    as of 12-31-96 11:57 AM

A limited legal review of this bill raises no obvious constitutional or statutory concerns.

Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel

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