HB 378 – AS INTRODUCED
HOUSE BILL 378
This bill establishes a revised child support formula in cases of shared residential responsibility. The bill also establishes a commission to study child support and related child care issues.
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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Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.
STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE
In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Fifteen
AN ACT relative to shared residential responsibility and establishing a commission to study child support and related child care issues.
Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:
1 Application of Child Support Guidelines; Reference Added. Amend RSA 458-C:4, I to read as follows:
I. Subject to the provisions of RSA 458-C:5 and RSA 458-C:5-a, guidelines provided under this chapter shall be applied in all child support cases, including temporary orders, and in any order modifying a support order.
2 Adjustments to the Guidelines in Special Circumstances. RSA 458-C:5, I(h)(1) is repealed and reenacted to read as follows:
(1) The child support obligation in cases of equal or approximately equal parenting residential responsibility shall be determined in accordance with RSA 458-C:5-a.
3 New Section; Adjustment to the Child Support Guidelines in Cases of Shared Residential Responsibility. Amend RSA 458-C by inserting after section 5 the following new section:
458-C:5-a Shared Residential Responsibility.
I. When each parent has residential responsibility for 30 percent or more of a calendar year, the total child support obligation shall be increased by 50 percent to reflect the additional costs of maintaining 2 households. Each parental support obligation shall be determined by dividing the total support obligation between the parents in proportion to their respective available incomes and in proportion to the amount of time each parent exercises residential responsibility. The parental support obligations shall then be offset, with the parent owing the larger amount being required to pay the difference between the 2 amounts to the other parent.
II. When one parent has residential responsibility for 25 percent or more but less than 30 percent of a calendar year, each parent’s respective share of the total support obligation shall be determined in accordance with a shared costs table adopted by the agency of human services by rule. The shared costs table shall be developed in such a way as to minimize economic disputes over parent-child contact or visitation and shall reflect the additional costs of maintaining 2 households by increasing the total support obligation by 50 percent.
III. In no event shall a parent be required to pay child support under paragraph I or II in an amount greater than the amount that would have been ordered under the support guidelines.
IV. For purposes of this section, “residential responsibility” shall have the same meaning as in RSA 461-A:1, VII.
V. When each parent has residential responsibility for at least one of the children, a theoretical support payment shall be determined for each parent for the children in the custody of the other, prorating the obligations among all children in the household. The obligations shall then be offset, with the parent owing the larger amount being required to pay the difference between the 2 amounts to the other parent.
4 New Section; Commission on Child Support and Related Child Custody Issues. Amend RSA?458-C by inserting after section 7 the following new section:
458-C:8 Commission to Study Child Support and Related Child Custody Issues.
I. There is established a commission to study child support and related child custody issues. The commission shall consist of the following members:
(a) The governor, or a designee.
(b) Two members of the senate, appointed by the president of the senate.
(c) Two members of the house of representatives, appointed by the speaker of the house of representatives.
(d) The administrator of the office of child support enforcement services, or a designee.
(e) Two public members representing the interests of obligor parents, appointed by the governor.
(f) Two public members representing the interests of obligee parents, appointed by the governor.
(g) Two public members involved in or representing the interests of joint or shared parenting arrangements, appointed by the governor.
(h) A representative of the university of New Hampshire cooperative extension with expertise in the New Hampshire child support formula and guidelines, appointed by the university.
(i) The chair of the family law section of the New Hampshire Bar Association, or designee.
II. The commission shall:
(a) Review RSA 461-A and RSA 458-C, to determine their effectiveness and fairness and to minimize incentives for unnecessary adversarial proceedings between parents, and to promote better outcomes for children and families.
(b) Review RSA 639:3, I and RSA 639:4, regarding criminal sanctions for non-support, to determine their effectiveness and fairness.
(c) Study the impact of the costs of providing medical insurance and dental care for the non-custodial parent and as part of a child support order.
(d) Study federal and other states’ child support guidelines, statutes, and legislation with a view toward improving New Hampshire’s child support formula. Specifically, the commission shall determine the amount of financial support necessary to adequately support a child in New?Hampshire. The review shall meet the requirements of 42 U.S.C. section 667 and satisfy RSA 478-C:6.
(e) Study joint and shared custody arrangements with a view toward making recommendations for changes to the child support guidelines formula.
(f) Hold 4 public hearings at separate geographic locations around the state for the purpose of obtaining testimony from the public on child support issues.
(g) Study the relationships between visitation, residential responsibility, and child support and consider the merits of more specific standards for the sharing of child support costs.
(h) Review the self-support level necessary and determine appropriate minimum and maximum levels for both self-support and support.
(i) Make recommendations for any proposed legislation that the commission deems necessary.
III. The commission may request relevant information and testimony, as well as reasonable administrative support and the services of an economist, from the department of health and human services.
IV. Appointments of all members of the commission shall be made within 45 days of the effective date of this act. The members of this commission shall serve without compensation, except that legislative members shall receive compensation for mileage at the usual legislative rate.
V. The first meeting of this commission shall be called within 60 days after the effective date of this act by the governor or the governor’s designee. At the first commission meeting, the members shall choose a chairperson and a vice chairperson by majority vote from among the membership. After the first meeting, all commission meetings shall be called by the chairperson. Meeting dates and places shall be set at the discretion of the commission.
VI. The commission shall submit a preliminary report of its findings and recommendations on or before November 1, 2015, and a final report on November 1, 2016, to the speaker of the house of representatives, the senate president, the governor, the house clerk, the senate clerk, and the state library.
5 Repeal. RSA 458-C:8, relative to the commission to study child support and related child custody issues, is repealed.
6 Effective Date.
I. Sections 1-3 of this act shall take effect January 1, 2016.
II. Section 5 of this act shall take effect November 1, 2016.
III. The remainder of this act shall take effect upon its passage.