LB 1000                                                                                                                     LB 1000

 

 

 

LEGISLATURE OF NEBRASKA

 

ONE HUNDRED THIRD LEGISLATURE

 

SECOND SESSION

 

LEGISLATIVE BILL 1000

 

Introduced by Karpisek, 32.

 

Read first time January 21, 2014

 

Committee:

 

A BILL

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FOR AN ACT relating to the Parenting Act; to amend section 43-2921,

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Reissue   Revised   Statutes   of   Nebraska,   and   section

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43-2929, Revised Statutes Cumulative Supplement, 2012; to

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state intent; to change provisions relating to parenting

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plans as prescribed; and to repeal the original sections.

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Be it enacted by the people of the State of Nebraska,


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Section  1.  Section  43-2921,  Reissue  Revised  Statutes  of

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Nebraska, is amended to read:

 

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43-2921  The  Legislature  finds  that  it  is  in  the  best

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interests  of  a  child  that  a  parenting  plan  be  developed  in  any

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proceeding  under  Chapter  42  involving  custody,  parenting  time,

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visitation, or other access with a child and that the parenting

plan

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establish

specific  individual  responsibility  for  performing

such

 

8     parenting functions as are necessary and appropriate for the care and

 

9     healthy development of each child affected by the parenting plan.

 

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The  Legislature  further  finds  that  it  is  in  the  best

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interests  of  a  child  to  have  a  safe,  stable,  and  nurturing

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environment. The best interests of each child shall be paramount and

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consideration shall be given to the desires and wishes of the child

 

14     if of an age of comprehension regardless of chronological age, when

 

15     such desires and wishes are based on sound reasoning.

 

16                              In any proceeding involving a child, the best interests

 

17     of the child shall be the standard by which the court adjudicates and

 

18     establishes the individual responsibilities, including consideration

 

19      in  any  custody,  parenting  time,  visitation,  or  other  access

 

20      determinations  as  well  as  resolution  of  conflicts  affecting  each

 

21     child. The state presumes the critical importance of the parent-child

 

22     relationship in the welfare and development of the child and that the

 

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relationship  between  the  child  and  each  parent  should  be

equally

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considered unless it is contrary to the best interests of the

child.

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The Legislature recognizes the potential profound

effects


 

 

 

 

 

 

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on  children

of

insufficient  parenting  time  with  either  parent.

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Children

are

more

likely to finish school,

less likely

to

engage in

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high-risk

activities,

and  less  likely  to

be

involved

in

criminal

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behavior

when two

parents are involved in their lives, regardless of

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whether they

live

in

the same household. It

is

the public

policy of

 

6     this state that each minor child have frequent and continuing contact

 

7     with both parents after the child’s parents separate or the marriage

 

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of  the  parents  is  dissolved,  and  to  encourage  parents  to  share  the

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rights and responsibilities of parenthood.

 

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The Legislature recognizes that each parent and child has

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a  unique  and  legal  interest  in,  and  a

constitutionally  protected

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right  to,  the  parent-child  relationship.  Each  parent  and  child  has

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substantive due process rights to the parent-child relationship.

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Given  the  potential  profound

effects  on  children  from

 

15     witnessing child abuse or neglect or domestic intimate partner abuse,

 

16     as well as being directly abused, the courts shall recognize the duty

 

17     and responsibility to keep the child or children safe when presented

 

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with  a  preponderance  of  the  evidence  of  child  abuse  or  neglect  or

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domestic intimate partner abuse,

including evidence of a child being

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used  by  the  abuser  to  establish

or

maintain

power

and  control

over

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the  victim.  In  domestic  intimate

partner

abuse

cases,  the

best

 

22     interests of each child are often served by keeping the child and the

 

23     victimized partner safe and not allowing the abuser to continue the

 

24     abuse. When child abuse or neglect, domestic intimate partner abuse,

 

25      or  unresolved  parental  conflict  prevents  the  best  interests  of  the


 

 

 

 

 

 

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child from being served in the parenting arrangement, then the safety

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and  welfare  of  the  child  is  paramount  in  the  resolution  of  those

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conflicts.

 

 

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Sec.  2.  Section  43-2929,  Revised  Statutes  Cumulative

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Supplement, 2012, is amended to read:

 

 

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43-2929   (1)   In   any   proceeding   in

which

parenting

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functions  for  a  child  are  at  issue  under  Chapter

42,  an

order  of

 

8     joint legal custody and equal parenting time is favored. In any such

 

9     proceeding, a parenting plan shall be developed and shall be approved

 

10      by  the  court.  Court  rule  may  provide  for  the  parenting  plan  to  be

 

11      developed  by  the  parties  or  their  counsel,  a  court  conciliation

 

12     program, an approved mediation center, or a private mediator. When a

 

13     parenting plan has not been developed and submitted to the court, or

 

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agreed  to  by  the  parents,  each  parent  shall  submit  a  proposed

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parenting  plan  pursuant  to  subsection  (6)  of  this  section  and

the

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court  shall  create  the  parenting  plan  in  accordance  with

the

 

17     Parenting Act. A parenting plan shall serve the best interests of the

 

18     child pursuant to sections 42-364, 43-2923, and 43-2929.01 and shall:

 

19                              (a)  Assist  in  developing  a  restructured  family  that

 

20     serves the best interests of the child by accomplishing the parenting

 

21     functions; and

 

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(b) Include, but not be limited to, determinations of the

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following:

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(i) Legal custody and physical custody of each child;

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(ii)  Apportionment  of  parenting  time,  visitation,  or


 

 

 

 

 

 

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other access for each child, including, but not limited to, specified

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religious  and  secular  holidays,  birthdays,  Mother's  Day,  Father's

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Day,  school  and  family  vacations,  and  other  special  occasions,

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specifying

dates and times for the same, or a formula or method for

 

5     determining such a schedule in sufficient detail that, if necessary,

 

6     the schedule can be enforced in subsequent proceedings by the court,

 

7     and set out appropriate times and numbers for telephone access;

 

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(iii)

Location of the child during the week, weekend, and

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given days during

the year;

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(iv) A transition plan, including the time and places for

 

11     transfer of the child, method of communication or amount and type of

 

12     contact between the parties during transfers, and duties related to

 

13     transportation of the child during transfers;

 

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(v) Procedures for making decisions regarding the day-to-

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day care and control of the child consistent with the major decisions

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made   by   the   person   or   persons   who   have   legal   custody   and

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responsibility for parenting functions;

 

 

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(vi)  Provisions  for  a  remediation

process

regarding

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future modifications to such plan;

 

 

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(vii) Arrangements to maximize the safety of all parties

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and the child;

 

 

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(viii) Provisions to ensure regular and continuous school

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attendance and progress for school-age children of the parties; and

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(ix)  Provisions  for  safety  when  a  preponderance  of  the

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evidence  establishes  child  abuse  or  neglect,

domestic

intimate


 

 

 

 

 

 

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partner  abuse,  unresolved  parental  conflict,  or  criminal  activity

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which is directly harmful to a child.

 

 

 

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(2)  A  parenting  plan  shall  require

that

the

parties

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notify each other of a change of address, except that the address or

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return  address  shall  only  include  the  county  and

state

for

a  party

 

6     who is living or moving to an undisclosed location because of safety

 

7     concerns.

 

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(3) When safe and appropriate for the best interests of

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the child, the parenting plan

may shall encourage mutual discussion

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of  major

decisions  regarding  parenting  functions  including  the

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child's

education,   health   care,   and   spiritual   or   religious

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upbringing.  However,  when  a  prior  factual  determination  of  child

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abuse  or  neglect,  domestic  intimate  partner  abuse,  or  unresolved

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parental conflict has been made, then consideration shall be given to

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inclusion

of  provisions  for

safety  and  a  transition  plan  that

 

16     restrict communication or the amount and type of contact between the

 

17     parties during transfers.

 

18                              (4)  Regardless  of  the  custody  determinations  in  the

 

19     parenting plan, unless parental rights are terminated, both parents

 

20     shall continue to have the rights stated in section 42-381.

 

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(5)

In the

development of

a

parenting plan, consideration

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shall be given to the

child's age, the child's developmental needs,

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and  the  child's

perspective,

as  well  as  consideration  of  enhancing

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healthy relationships between

the child

and

each

party.

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(6)

If the

parents cannot

agree

on a

parenting plan, each


 

 

 

 

 

 

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1     parent shall submit a proposed parenting plan to the court. The court

 

2     is encouraged to adopt a parenting plan that provides for joint legal

 

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custody  and  that  maximizes  the  parenting  time  of  each  parent.  The

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court  shall  not  prefer  a  parent's  proposed  plan  because  of  the

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parent's or child's sex.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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(7)  In  ordering  joint  legal  custody,  the  court  is

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encouraged  to  require  the  parents  to  consult  with  one  another  and

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attempt  to  reach  agreement  on  major  decisions  regarding  parenting

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functions.  If  the  parents  are  unable  to  reach  agreement,  the

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parenting  plan  shall  assign  to  one  parent  final  decisionmaking

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responsibility  over  particular  categories  of  major  decisions.  The

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court

is

encouraged

to

divide

such

final

decisionmaking

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responsibility  between  the  parents  so  each  parent  has  final

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decisionmaking  responsibility  over  certain  categories  of  major

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decisions  which  may  include  religious  upbringing,  education,  health

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care,  participation  in  extracurricular  activities,  and  any  other

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categories the court finds unique to a particular family.

 

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(8) If at any time during a proceeding in which parenting

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functions for a child are at issue under Chapter 42

the

court finds

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by  a  preponderance  of  the  evidence  that  a  parent  has  engaged  in  a

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pattern  of  willfully  creating  conflict,  interfering

with  access  to

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the child, interfering with the child’s relationship with the other

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parent,  or  taking  other  action  in  an  attempt  to  manipulate  such

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proceeding,  the  court  shall  consider  such  behavior

in

its

decision

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and sanction

such behavior,

including,

but

not limited

to,

awarding


 

 

 

 

 

 

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attorney's fees to the nonoffending parent, imposing other monetary

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sanctions on the offending parent, deeming such behavior a material

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change  of  circumstances,  or  changing  a  joint  custody

order  to  an

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order of primary

custody with the nonoffending parent.

 

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(9)

When

rendering

decisions  regarding

court-created

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parenting plans,

the court shall provide written findings of fact and

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conclusions  of

law

regarding

its  decision  if  the

court-created

 

8     parenting plan does not provide for joint legal custody and does not

 

9     maximize the parties’ respective parenting time.

 

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(10)  The  provisions  of  subsection  (6)

of  this  section

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that encourage parenting plans to maximize parenting

time and provide

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for  joint  legal  custody  does  not,  in  and  of  itself,  constitute

a

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material  change  in  circumstances  affecting  the  best

interests  of

a

 

14     child or children requiring modification of parenting plans entered

 

15     prior to July 1, 2014.

 

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(11) All legal custody and parenting time presumptions or

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guidelines existing as of July 1, 2014, whether adopted by judicial

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decision  or  court  rule  and  whether  written  or  unwritten,  that  are

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inconsistent with this section are hereby superseded.

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Sec.   3.   Original   section   43-2921,   Reissue   Revised

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Statutes   of   Nebraska,   and   section   43-2929,   Revised   Statutes

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Cumulative Supplement, 2012, are repealed.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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