HB316 (2006) Detail

Relative to neutral evaluations in child custody cases.






AN ACT relative to neutral evaluations in child custody cases.

SPONSORS: Rep. Gargasz, Hills 5; Rep. Bickford, Straf 3; Rep. Franklin, Sull 2; Sen. Roberge, Dist 9

COMMITTEE: Children and Family Law


This bill permits the court to order the parents in a child custody case to participate in a neutral evaluation in an attempt to resolve the case without litigation.

This bill is a request of the family law task force, established in 2002, 250.

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Explanation: Matter added to current law appears in bold italics.

Matter removed from current law appears [in brackets and struckthrough.]

Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.




In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Five

AN ACT relative to neutral evaluations in child custody cases.

Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:

1 New Section; Annulment, Divorce, and Separation; Neutral Evaluation. Amend RSA 458 by inserting after section 17-e the following new section:

458:17-f Neutral Evaluation of Cases Involving Children.

I. In this section:

(a) “Neutral evaluation” means a process in which an independent third party facilitates settlement by discussions with the parties by giving an opinion of how the court would rule on the disputed issues.

(b) “Neutral evaluator” means an independent third party, experienced in divorce and custody cases, who is trained and qualified by the court to provide neutral evaluation under this section.

II. In any case under this chapter involving the custody and support of children, the court may order the parents to participate in neutral evaluation, provided that both parties agree or that the court finds that such an order is justified. Any settlement resulting from the neutral evaluation is entirely voluntary. In the absence of settlement, the parties shall not lose any of their rights to a resolution of their dispute through litigation.

III. The court may choose not to order neutral evaluation if there is:

(a) A showing of undue hardship to a party.

(b) An agreement between the parties for alternate dispute resolution procedures.

(c) An allegation of abuse or neglect of the minor child.

(d) A finding of alcoholism, drug abuse, or domestic abuse as defined in RSA 173-B:1, unless all parties agree to the neutral evaluation.

(e) An allegation of serious psychological or emotional abuse.

(f) No qualified neutral evaluator available within a reasonable time period.

IV. The fee for neutral evaluation shall be the responsibility of the parents.

V. The supreme court shall establish rules relative to the qualifications and standards of practice for neutral evaluators.

2 Effective Date. This act shall take effect January 1, 2006.


HB316 at GenCourtMobile

Action Dates

Date Body Type

Bill Text Revisions

HB316 Revision: 10064 Date: Jan. 21, 2010, midnight