HB1775 (2018) Detail

(New Title) relative to the appointment of guardians ad litem in parenting cases and relative to alcohol and drug free housing.


CHAPTER 307

HB 1775 - FINAL VERSION

 

6Mar2018... 0671h

04/26/2018   1587s

05/03/2018   1846s

23May2018... 1970-CofC

2018 SESSION

18-2953

05/10

 

HOUSE BILL 1775

 

AN ACT relative to the appointment of guardians ad litem in parenting cases and relative to alcohol and drug free housing.

 

SPONSORS: Rep. Gargasz, Hills. 27; Rep. S. Schmidt, Carr. 6; Rep. P. Long, Hills. 10; Sen. Lasky, Dist 13

 

COMMITTEE: Children and Family Law

 

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AMENDED ANALYSIS

 

This bill revises criteria for appointment of a guardian ad litem under RSA 461-A; limits the role of the guardian ad litem absent express authorization from the court; revises the procedure for determining guardian ad litem fees; and repeals the provision governing supreme court standards for non-certified guardians ad litem.  The bill is a request of the committee to study RSA 461-A, relative to parental rights and responsibilities, established in 2016, 281.

 

This bill also requires the commissioner of the department of health and human services to establish a voluntary registration program for operators of alcohol and drug free housing in New Hampshire.

 

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Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.

6Mar2018... 0671h

04/26/2018   1587s

05/03/2018   1846s

23May2018... 1970-CofC 18-2953

05/10

 

STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE

 

In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Eighteen

 

AN ACT relative to the appointment of guardians ad litem in parenting cases and relative to alcohol and drug free housing.

 

 

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

 

307:1  Parental Rights and Responsibilities; Guardian ad Litem.  Amend RSA 461-A:16 to read as follows:

461-A:16  Guardian ad Litem.  

I.  [In all proceedings for divorce, separation, annulment, paternity, or determination of parental rights and responsibilities, the court may appoint a guardian ad litem to represent the interests of the children of the parties, upon its own motion or motion of any party.  The court may, in its order of appointment, after considering the nature of the issues raised in the case pending before it, specify the concerns to be addressed by the guardian ad litem, and otherwise limit the scope of the appointment.  The guardian ad litem may be appointed to continue to serve after the final decree of divorce has been granted.]  In contested proceedings under RSA 461-A, the court may appoint a guardian ad litem for a minor child when the court has reason for special concern regarding the welfare of the child.  The role of the guardian ad litem shall be to gather information to assist the court in determining the best interests of the child.  In determining whether to appoint a guardian ad litem, the court shall consider:

(a)  The wishes of the parties;

(b)  The age of the child;

(c)  The nature of the proceeding, including the contentiousness of the hearing;

(d)  The financial resources of the parties;

(e)  The extent to which a guardian ad litem may assist in providing information concerning the best interest of the child;

(f)  Whether the family has experienced a history of domestic abuse;

(g)  Abuse of the child by one of the parties;

(h)  The educational needs of the child; and

(i)  Any other factors the court deems relevant.

I-a.  The court shall specify the issues to be addressed by the guardian ad litem in his or her report and may otherwise limit the role of the guardian ad litem.

I-b.  The guardian ad litem may participate in hearings and conferences by telephone, except for evidentiary hearings on parenting.

I-c.  The guardian ad litem shall file a report of his or her investigation no later than the date of the final pretrial hearing.  The report shall not propose any of the following unless specifically requested by the court:

(a)  An allocation of decision-making responsibility;

(b)  A parenting plan; or

(c)  A specific parenting schedule.

I-d.  At the court's request or with the court's approval, the guardian ad litem may file a supplemental report on specific issues.  A preliminary or temporary report shall not be required unless one is ordered by the court due to the extraordinary or special circumstances of the case.

II.  Persons accepting appointment as guardians ad litem agree to serve as officers of the court and have such standing in the proceedings as the court deems appropriate and may, upon approval of the court, utilize the service of others found necessary by the court to represent the child's best interest.

III.  Guardians ad litem shall respect communications between themselves and the child and shall disclose such information only as required by the court[,] in rendering a report [with the guardian ad litem's recommendations].  All parties to the case shall have access to, and receive a copy of, any report [or recommendation] made by the guardian ad litem unless the court explicitly finds that such disclosure is not in the child's best interest.  When the child's ability to make adequately considered decisions in connection with the representation is impaired, whether because of minority, mental disability, or some other reason, the guardian ad litem shall be the holder of the privilege and shall have the authority to waive the privilege, but only if the guardian ad litem reasonably believes that the child cannot adequately act in the child's own interest.

IV.  When a guardian ad litem is appointed pursuant to this section, the court shall establish a maximum fee for the appointment in accordance with this section.  [The guardian ad litem may exceed the maximum fee for the appointment, or additional fees may be authorized, only with the prior approval of the presiding judge and when all parties have been notified.  The fees for services for the guardian ad litem and others utilized by the guardian and approved by the court shall be a charge against the parties in a proportional amount as the court may determine.]  

(a)  When appointing a guardian ad litem to be paid from a state fund, the court shall establish an hourly rate and a maximum fee for the appointment, which shall not exceed the hourly rate and maximum fee established by court rule for abuse and neglect cases.  No funding from a state fund for guardian ad litem fees shall be available to a party whose income is 200 percent or more of the federal poverty level.  

(b)  When appointing a guardian ad litem to be paid directly by the parties, the hourly rate and maximum fee for the appointment shall be established by written agreement between the guardian ad litem and the parties.  The hourly rate shall be not more than twice the rate for state fund cases and shall not exceed 23 hours, unless the parties agree otherwise.  The fees for services of the guardian ad litem and others utilized by the guardian and approved by the court shall be a charge against the parties in a proportional amount, as determined by the court.  In determining the responsibility for payment or repayment, the court shall consider:

(1)  The income of the parties;

(2)  The marital or nonmarital assets of the parties;

(3)  The division of property made as part of the final divorce, if applicable;

(4)  Which party requested appointment of the guardian ad litem; and

(5)  Other relevant factors.

V.  [For good cause shown, the court may waive the requirements of paragraph I.  Good cause shall not include the lack of ability to pay by either party.]  The guardian ad litem shall not exceed the maximum fee for the appointment, or provide services, without prior approval from the court, after a hearing.  If the parties agree to the guardian ad litem's request to exceed the maximum fee, the hearing may be waived.

VI.  [The supreme court shall provide the following relative to non-certified guardians ad litem appointed pursuant to this section:

(a)  Standards and requirements for registration as a guardian ad litem.

(b)  Standards for practice, including but not limited to ethical rules.

(c)  Disciplinary procedures for violating ethical rules and requirements established under this paragraph.

(d)  Penalties for violation of ethical rules and requirements, including, as the court may deem necessary, fines or disciplinary action, or both.]  Unless otherwise ordered by the court or by agreement of the parties, the services of the guardian ad litem shall conclude upon the issuance of the final order.

307:2  New Paragraphs; Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse; Provision of Services; Acceptance Into Treatment; Alcohol and Drug Free Housing; Voluntary Registration Program.  Amend RSA 172-B:2 by inserting after paragraph IV the following new paragraphs:

V.  The commissioner shall adopt rules, pursuant to RSA 541-A, relative to establishing and providing for the administration of a voluntary registration program for operators of alcohol and drug free housing seeking registration in the state of New Hampshire.  The rules developed for the administration of the registration program shall include a process for receiving complaints against registered alcohol and drug free housing operators.  "Alcohol and drug free housing" means a residence, commonly known as a sober home, that provides or advertises as providing, an alcohol and drug free environment for persons recovering from substance use disorders, provided that "alcohol and drug free housing " shall not include a halfway house, treatment unit, detoxification facility, or any other facility requiring a license pursuant to RSA 151.

VI.  The department shall prepare, publish, and disseminate a list of alcohol and drug free housing registered pursuant to paragraph V.  A state agency or vendor with a state or federally funded contract that is providing treatment or recovery support services to a person shall not refer the person to alcohol and drug free housing unless the alcohol and drug free housing is registered pursuant to paragraph V.  Nothing in this section shall prohibit a residence that is not registered from operating or advertising as alcohol and drug free housing or from offering residence to individuals recovering from substance use disorders.

307:3  Effective Date.

I.  Section 2 of this act shall take effect June 30, 2019.

II.  The remainder of this act shall take effect January 1, 2019.

 

Approved: June 25, 2018

Effective Date:

I. Section 2 shall take effect June 30, 2019.

II. Remainder shall take effect January 1, 2019.

 

 

Links

HB1775 at GenCourtMobile

Action Dates

Date Body Type
Feb. 13, 2018 House Hearing
Feb. 20, 2018 House Exec Session
Feb. 21, 2018 House Exec Session
House Floor Vote
March 6, 2018 House Floor Vote
March 29, 2018 Senate Hearing
April 26, 2018 Senate Floor Vote
May 2, 2018 Senate Floor Vote
May 2, 2018 Senate Floor Vote
May 3, 2018 Senate Floor Vote
May 15, 2018 Senate Floor Vote
May 15, 2018 Senate Floor Vote
May 23, 2018 Senate Floor Vote
May 23, 2018 House Floor Vote

Bill Text Revisions

HB1775 Revision: 4231 Date: June 26, 2018, 10:42 a.m.
HB1775 Revision: 3970 Date: May 23, 2018, 2:41 p.m.
HB1775 Revision: 3766 Date: May 4, 2018, 2:34 p.m.
HB1775 Revision: 3632 Date: April 30, 2018, 9:04 a.m.
HB1775 Revision: 3211 Date: March 21, 2018, 3:05 p.m.
HB1775 Revision: 2327 Date: Nov. 30, 2017, 3:29 p.m.

Docket

Date Status
Jan. 3, 2018 Introduced 01/03/2018 and referred to Children and Family Law HJ 1 P. 23
Feb. 13, 2018 Public Hearing: 02/13/2018 10:00 AM LOB 206
Feb. 20, 2018 Executive Session: 02/20/2018 11:00 AM LOB 206
Feb. 21, 2018 ==RESCHEDULED== Executive Session: 02/21/2018 11:00 AM LOB 206
Committee Report: Ought to Pass with Amendment # 2018-0671h (Vote 14-0; CC)
March 6, 2018 Committee Report: Ought to Pass with Amendment # 2018-0671h for 03/06/2018 (Vote 14-0; CC) HC 9 P. 5
March 6, 2018 Amendment # 2018-0671h: AA VV 03/06/2018 HJ 6 P. 7
March 6, 2018 Ought to Pass with Amendment 0671h: MA VV 03/06/2018 HJ 6 P. 7
March 8, 2018 Introduced 03/08/2018 and Referred to Judiciary; SJ 7
March 29, 2018 Hearing: 03/29/2018, Room 100, SH, 10:30 am; SC 14
April 26, 2018 Committee Report: Ought to Pass with Amendment # 2018-1587s, 04/26/2018; SC 18
April 26, 2018 Committee Amendment # 2018-1587s, AA, VV; 04/26/2018; SJ 14
April 26, 2018 Ought to Pass with Amendment 2018-1587s, MA, VV; Refer to Finance Rule 4-5; 04/26/2018; SJ 14
May 2, 2018 Committee Report: Ought to Pass, 05/02/2018; SC 19A
May 3, 2018 Special Order to 05/03/2018, Without Objection, MA; 05/02/2018 SJ 15
May 3, 2018 Committee Report: Ought to Pass, 05/03/2018;
May 3, 2018 Sen. D'Allesandro Floor Amendment # 2018-1846s, AA, VV; 05/03/2018; SJ 16
May 3, 2018 Ought to Pass with Amendment 2018-1846s, MA, VV; OT3rdg; 05/03/2018; SJ 16
May 10, 2018 House Non-Concurs with Senate Amendment 1587s and 1846s and Requests CofC (Rep. K. Rice): MA VV 05/10/2018
May 10, 2018 Speaker Appoints: Reps. K. Rice, Itse, M. Pearson, P. Long 05/10/2018
May 10, 2018 Sen. Carson Accedes to House Request for Committee of Conference, MA, VV; 05/10/2018; SJ 17
May 10, 2018 President Appoints: Senators Carson, Gannon, Lasky; 05/10/2018; SJ 17
May 14, 2018 Conference Committee Meeting: 05/14/2018 09:00 AM LOB 206
May 15, 2018 Conference Committee Report Filed, # 2018-1970c; 05/15/2018
May 15, 2018 Conference Committee Report Filed, # 2018-1970c; 05/15/2018
May 23, 2018 Conference Committee Report # 2018-1970c, Adopted, VV; 05/23/2018; SJ 18
May 23, 2018 Conference Committee Report 1970c: Adopted, VV 05/23/2018
May 23, 2018 Enrolled (In recess 05/23/2018); SJ 18
May 23, 2018 Enrolled 05/23/2018
June 25, 2018 Signed by Governor Sununu 06/25/2018; Chapter 307; I. Sec. 2 eff. 6/30/2019; II. Rem. eff. 1/1/2019