Senate Research Center   H.B. 2441
76R11980 JMM-FBy: Goodman (Ellis)


Currently, courts have the authority to order parties in a suit for
dissolution of a marriage to participate in parenting courses if the
parties have children.  H.B. 2441 would establish the requirement that
parents participate in a parenting course and counseling in certain suits
involving children. 


As proposed, H.B. 2441 establishes the requirement that parents participate
in a parenting course and counseling in certain suits involving children. 


This bill does not grant any additional rulemaking authority to a state
officer, institution, or agency. 


SECTION 1.  Amends Chapter 105, Family Code, by adding Section 105.009, as

Authorizes the court,  in a suit affecting the parent-child relationship,
to order the parties to the suit to attend a parent education and family
stabilization course if the court determines that the order is in the best
interest of the child.   

(b)  Prohibits the parties to the suit from being required to attend the
course together. Authorizes the court to prohibit the parties from taking
the course together  if there is a history of family violence in the
(c)  Requires a course to be at least four hours in length and be designed
to educate and assist parents with regard to the consequences of divorce on
parents and children.  Sets forth information required to included in the
(d)  Prohibits a course from being designed to provide individual mental
health therapy or individual legal advice.   

(e)  Provides that a course satisfies the requirements of this section if
it is offered by certain individuals. 

(f)  Prohibits information obtained in a course or a statement made by a
participant to a suit during a course from being considered in the
adjudication of the suit or in any subsequent legal proceeding.  Prohibits
any report that results from course participation from becoming a record in
the suit unless the parties stipulate to the record in writing. 
(g)  Authorizes the court to take appropriate action with regard to a party
who fails to attend or complete a course ordered by the court.  Prohibits
the failure or refusal by a party to attend or complete a course required
by this section from delaying the court from rendering a judgment in a suit
affecting the parent-child relationship. 

  (h)  Sets forth various options by which the course required under this
section may be offered. 

(i)  Requires the course provider, upon completion of the course, to issue
a certificate of completion to each participant.  Sets forth information
the certificate must state.   
(j)  Authorizes the clerk of the county court to establish a registry of
course providers in the county and a list of locations at which courses are
provided.  Requires the clerk to include information in the registry
identifying courses that are offered on a sliding fee scale or without

(k)  Prohibits the court from ordering the parties to a suit to attend a
course if the parties cannot afford to take the course.  Authorizes the
court to direct the parties to a course that is offered on a sliding fee
scale or without charge, if the parties cannot afford the course and if the
course of that type is available.   

SECTION 2.  Amends Section 157.211, Family Code, to include as a term and
condition of community supervision the requirement that the respondent
obtain counseling on financial planning, budget management, conflict
resolution, parenting skills, alcohol or drug abuse, or certain other

SECTION 3.  Effective date: September 1, 1999.
  Makes application of this Act prospective. 

SECTION 4.  Emergency clause.