By Goodman, Telford, Wohlgemuth, H.B. No. 2441 76R11980 JMM-F A BILL TO BE ENTITLED 1-1 AN ACT 1-2 relating to the requirement that parents participate in a parenting 1-3 course and counseling in certain suits involving children. 1-4 BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS: 1-5 SECTION 1. Chapter 105, Family Code, is amended by adding 1-6 Section 105.009 to read as follows: 1-7 Sec. 105.009. PARENT EDUCATION AND FAMILY STABILIZATION 1-8 COURSE. (a) In a suit affecting the parent-child relationship, 1-9 including an action to modify an order in a suit affecting the 1-10 parent-child relationship providing for possession of or access to 1-11 a child, the court may order the parties to the suit to attend a 1-12 parent education and family stabilization course if the court 1-13 determines that the order is in the best interest of the child. 1-14 (b) The parties to the suit may not be required to attend 1-15 the course together. The court, on its own motion or the motion of 1-16 either party, may prohibit the parties from taking the course 1-17 together if there is a history of family violence in the marriage. 1-18 (c) A course under this section must be at least four hours 1-19 in length and be designed to educate and assist parents with regard 1-20 to the consequences of divorce on parents and children. The course 1-21 must include information on the following issues: 1-22 (1) the emotional effects of divorce on parents; 1-23 (2) the emotional and behavioral reactions to divorce 1-24 by young children and adolescents; 1-25 (3) parenting issues relating to the concerns and 2-1 needs of children at different development stages; 2-2 (4) stress indicators in young children and 2-3 adolescents; 2-4 (5) conflict management; 2-5 (6) family stabilization through development of a 2-6 coparenting relationship; 2-7 (7) the financial responsibilities of parenting; 2-8 (8) family violence, spousal abuse, and child abuse 2-9 and neglect; and 2-10 (9) the availability of community services and 2-11 resources. 2-12 (d) A course may not be designed to provide individual 2-13 mental health therapy or individual legal advice. 2-14 (e) A course satisfies the requirements of this section if 2-15 it is offered by: 2-16 (1) a mental health professional who has at least a 2-17 master's degree with a background in family therapy or parent 2-18 education; 2-19 (2) a religious practitioner who performs counseling 2-20 consistent with the laws of this state or another person designated 2-21 as a program counselor by a church or religious institution; or 2-22 (3) if a person described by Subdivision (1) or (2) is 2-23 not available, any other person designated as a course provider by 2-24 the county clerk, including a properly trained school counselor or 2-25 a person having training in marriage and family therapy. 2-26 (f) Information obtained in a course or a statement made by 2-27 a participant to a suit during a course may not be considered in 3-1 the adjudication of the suit or in any subsequent legal proceeding. 3-2 Any report that results from participation in the course may not 3-3 become a record in the suit unless the parties stipulate to the 3-4 record in writing. 3-5 (g) The court may take appropriate action with regard to a 3-6 party who fails to attend or complete a course ordered by the court 3-7 under this section, including holding the party in contempt of 3-8 court, striking pleadings, or invoking any sanction provided by 3-9 Rule 215, Texas Rules of Civil Procedure. The failure or refusal 3-10 by a party to attend or complete a course required by this section 3-11 may not delay the court from rendering a judgment in a suit 3-12 affecting the parent-child relationship. 3-13 (h) The course required under this section may be offered 3-14 by: 3-15 (1) personal instruction; 3-16 (2) videotape instruction; 3-17 (3) instruction through an electronic medium; or 3-18 (4) a combination of those methods. 3-19 (i) On completion of the course, the course provider shall 3-20 issue a certificate of completion to each participant. The 3-21 certificate must state: 3-22 (1) the name of the participant; 3-23 (2) the name of the course provider; 3-24 (3) the date the course was completed; and 3-25 (4) whether the course was provided by: 3-26 (A) personal instruction; 3-27 (B) videotape instruction; 4-1 (C) instruction through an electronic medium; or 4-2 (D) a combination of those methods. 4-3 (j) The county clerk in each county may establish a registry 4-4 of course providers in the county and a list of locations at which 4-5 courses are provided. The clerk shall include information in the 4-6 registry identifying courses that are offered on a sliding fee 4-7 scale or without charge. 4-8 (k) The court may not order the parties to a suit to attend 4-9 a course under this section if the parties cannot afford to take 4-10 the course. If the parties cannot afford to take a course, the 4-11 court may direct the parties to a course that is offered on a 4-12 sliding fee scale or without charge, if a course of that type is 4-13 available. 4-14 SECTION 2. Section 157.211, Family Code, is amended to read 4-15 as follows: 4-16 Sec. 157.211. CONDITIONS OF COMMUNITY SUPERVISION. If the 4-17 court places the respondent on community supervision and suspends 4-18 commitment, the terms and conditions of community supervision may 4-19 include the requirement that the respondent: 4-20 (1) report to the community supervision and 4-21 corrections department officer as directed; 4-22 (2) permit the community supervision and corrections 4-23 department officer to visit the respondent at the respondent's home 4-24 or elsewhere; 4-25 (3) obtain counseling on financial planning, budget 4-26 management, conflict resolution, parenting skills, alcohol or drug 4-27 abuse, or other matters causing the respondent to fail to obey the 5-1 order; 5-2 (4) pay required child support and any child support 5-3 arrearages; and 5-4 (5) pay court costs and attorney's fees ordered by the 5-5 court. 5-6 SECTION 3. (a) This Act takes effect September 1, 1999. 5-7 (b) The change in law made by this Act applies to a suit 5-8 affecting the parent-child relationship or a motion to modify an 5-9 order providing for possession of or access to a child that is 5-10 filed on or after the effective date of this Act. A suit or motion 5-11 filed before the effective date of this Act is governed by the law 5-12 in effect on the date the suit or motion was filed, and the former 5-13 law is continued in effect for that purpose. 5-14 SECTION 4. The importance of this legislation and the 5-15 crowded condition of the calendars in both houses create an 5-16 emergency and an imperative public necessity that the 5-17 constitutional rule requiring bills to be read on three several 5-18 days in each house be suspended, and this rule is hereby suspended.