Connecticut Seal

General Assembly

 

Committee Bill No. 5505

January Session, 2015

 

LCO No. 4691

 

*04691HB05505JUD*

Referred to Committee on JUDICIARY

 

Introduced by:

 

(JUD)

 

AN ACT CONCERNING FAMILY COURT PROCEEDINGS.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. (NEW) (Effective October 1, 2015) Notwithstanding any provision of chapter 815, 815a, 815e, 815j, 815p, 815t or 815y of the general statutes, a court shall not order that a parent have supervised visitation with his or her child, unless such court finds, based upon the evidence presented to the court, that such parent: (1) Has engaged in an act of neglect or abuse that has been substantiated by the Department of Children and Families; (2) has no established relationship with the child with whom visitation is sought; (3) has engaged in criminal conduct that presents a potential risk to the health, safety or well-being of a child; or (4) suffers from a severe mental disability that presents a potential risk to the health, safety or well-being of a child.

Sec. 2. (NEW) (Effective October 1, 2015) A person aggrieved by the action of counsel or a guardian ad litem for a minor child or children, appointed under section 46b-54 of the general statutes, as amended by this act, may bring a civil action seeking appropriate relief, including equitable relief, damages, or both, in the superior court for the judicial district in which such counsel or guardian ad litem for a minor child was appointed. If such civil action results in a judgment for the plaintiff, the court shall award the plaintiff all costs of the action, including such attorney's fees as the court may allow to the plaintiff. The court shall not enter any order under this section that would require a plaintiff to pay the costs, expenses or attorney's fees of counsel or a guardian ad litem for a minor child named as a defendant in such civil action. It shall not be a defense to such civil action that the defendant is entitled to absolute, quasi-judicial immunity.

Sec. 3. (NEW) (Effective October 1, 2015) (a) In a family relations matter, as defined in section 46b-1 of the general statutes, if a court orders that a parent undergo treatment or an evaluation from a licensed health care provider, as defined in section 52-184e of the general statutes, the court shall allow the parent to select the licensed health care provider who is to provide such treatment or evaluation.

(b) In a family relations matter, as defined in section 46b-1 of the general statutes, if a court orders that a child undergo treatment or an evaluation from a licensed health care provider, as defined in section 52-184e of the general statutes, the court shall permit the parent or legal guardian of such child to select the licensed health care provider who is to provide such treatment or evaluation. If two parents do not agree on the selection of a licensed health care provider to provide such treatment or evaluation to a child, the court shall continue the matter for two weeks to allow the parents an opportunity to jointly select the licensed health care provider. If after the two-week period, the parents have not reached an agreement on the selection of a licensed health care provider, the court shall select such provider after giving due consideration to the health insurance coverage and financial resources available to such parents. In the case of two parents who cannot agree on the selection of a licensed health care provider to provide such treatment or evaluation to the child, if a parent incurs expenses as a result of permitting the child to be treated or evaluated by such provider, without the express written consent of the other parent, the parent who permitted such treatment or evaluation to occur shall be solely responsible for the costs incurred for such treatment or evaluation.

(c) In a family relations matter, as defined in section 46b-1 of the general statutes, if a court orders that a parent or child undergo an evaluation from a licensed health care provider, as defined in section 52-184e of the general statutes, the results of such evaluation shall be submitted to the court by such provider not later than thirty days after the date of completion of the evaluation.

Sec. 4. Subsection (e) of section 46b-54 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2015):

(e) [Counsel] Except as provided in this subsection, counsel or a guardian ad litem for the minor child or children shall be heard on all matters pertaining to the interests of any child, including the custody, care, support, education and visitation of the child, so long as the court deems such representation to be in the best interests of the child. To the extent practicable, when hearing from such counsel or guardian ad litem, the court shall permit such counsel or guardian ad litem to participate at the beginning of the matter, at the conclusion of the matter or at such other time the court deems appropriate so as to minimize legal fees incurred by the parties due to the participation of such counsel or guardian ad litem in the matter. Such counsel or guardian ad litem [may] shall not be heard on a matter pertaining to a medical diagnosis or conclusion concerning a minor child made by a health care professional treating such child. [when (1) such counsel or guardian ad litem is in possession of a medical record or report of the treating health care professional that indicates or supports such medical diagnosis or conclusion; or (2) one or more parties have refused to cooperate in paying for or obtaining a medical record or report that contains the treating health care professional's medical diagnosis or conclusion. If] Instead, if the court deems it to be in the best interests of the minor child, such health care professional shall be heard on matters pertaining to the interests of any such child, including the custody, care, support, education and visitation of such child.

This act shall take effect as follows and shall amend the following sections:

Section 1

October 1, 2015

New section

Sec. 2

October 1, 2015

New section

Sec. 3

October 1, 2015

New section

Sec. 4

October 1, 2015

46b-54(e)

Statement of Purpose:

To implement reforms in family court proceedings.

[Proposed deletions are enclosed in brackets. Proposed additions are indicated by underline, except that when the entire text of a bill or resolution or a section of a bill or resolution is new, it is not underlined.]

Co-Sponsors:

REP. GONZALEZ, 3rd Dist.; REP. FRITZ, 90th Dist.

H.B. 5505