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.
 1-5           SECTION 1.  Chapter 105, Family Code, is amended by adding
 1-6     Section 105.009 to read as follows:
 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     but not more than 12 hours, in length and be designed to educate
1-20     and assist parents with regard to the consequences of divorce on
1-21     parents and children.  The course must include information on the
1-22     following issues:
1-23                 (1)  the emotional effects of divorce on parents;
1-24                 (2)  the emotional and behavioral reactions to divorce
 2-1     by young children and adolescents;
 2-2                 (3)  parenting issues relating to the concerns and
 2-3     needs of children at different development stages;
 2-4                 (4)  stress indicators in young children and
 2-5     adolescents;
 2-6                 (5)  conflict management;
 2-7                 (6)  family stabilization through development of a
 2-8     coparenting relationship;
 2-9                 (7)  the financial responsibilities of parenting;
2-10                 (8)  family violence, spousal abuse, and child abuse
2-11     and neglect; and
2-12                 (9)  the availability of community services and
2-13     resources.
2-14           (d)  A course may not be designed to provide individual
2-15     mental health therapy or individual legal advice.
2-16           (e)  A course satisfies the requirements of this section if
2-17     it is offered by:
2-18                 (1)  a mental health professional who has at least a
2-19     master's degree with a background in family therapy or parent
2-20     education; or
2-21                 (2)  a religious practitioner who performs counseling
2-22     consistent with the laws of this state or another person designated
2-23     as a program counselor by a church or religious institution if the
2-24     litigant so chooses.
2-25           (f)  Information obtained in a course or a statement made by
2-26     a participant to a suit during a course may not be considered in
2-27     the adjudication of the suit or in any subsequent legal proceeding.
 3-1     Any report that results from participation in the course may not
 3-2     become a record in the suit unless the parties stipulate to the
 3-3     record in writing.
 3-4           (g)  The court may take appropriate action with regard to a
 3-5     party who fails to attend or complete a course ordered by the court
 3-6     under this section, including holding the party in contempt of
 3-7     court, striking pleadings, or invoking any sanction provided by
 3-8     Rule 215, Texas Rules of Civil Procedure.  The failure or refusal
 3-9     by a party to attend or complete a course required by this section
3-10     may not delay the court from rendering a judgment in a suit
3-11     affecting the parent-child relationship.
3-12           (h)  The course required under this section may be completed
3-13     by:
3-14                 (1)  personal instruction;
3-15                 (2)  videotape instruction;
3-16                 (3)  instruction through an electronic medium; or
3-17                 (4)  a combination of those methods.
3-18           (i)  On completion of the course, the course provider shall
3-19     issue a certificate of completion to each participant.  The
3-20     certificate must state:
3-21                 (1)  the name of the participant;
3-22                 (2)  the name of the course provider;
3-23                 (3)  the date the course was completed; and
3-24                 (4)  whether the course was provided by:
3-25                       (A)  personal instruction;
3-26                       (B)  videotape instruction;
3-27                       (C)  instruction through an electronic medium; or
 4-1                       (D)  a combination of those methods.
 4-2           (j)  The county clerk in each county may establish a registry
 4-3     of course providers in the county and a list of locations at which
 4-4     courses are provided.  The clerk shall include information in the
 4-5     registry identifying courses that are offered on a sliding fee
 4-6     scale or without charge.
 4-7           (k)  The court may not order the parties to a suit to attend
 4-8     a course under this section if the parties cannot afford to take
 4-9     the course. If the parties cannot afford to take a course, the
4-10     court may direct the parties to a course that is offered on a
4-11     sliding fee scale or without charge, if a course of that type is
4-12     available.  A party to a suit may not be required to pay more than
4-13     $100 to attend a course ordered under this section.
4-14           (l)  A person who has attended a course under this section
4-15     may not be required to attend the course more than twice before the
4-16     fifth anniversary of the date the person completes the course for
4-17     the first time.
4-18           SECTION 2.  Section 157.211, Family Code, is amended to read
4-19     as follows:
4-20           Sec. 157.211.  CONDITIONS OF COMMUNITY SUPERVISION.  If the
4-21     court places the respondent on community supervision and suspends
4-22     commitment, the terms and conditions of community supervision may
4-23     include the requirement that the respondent:
4-24                 (1)  report to the community supervision and
4-25     corrections department officer as directed;
4-26                 (2)  permit the community supervision and corrections
4-27     department officer to visit the respondent at the respondent's home
 5-1     or elsewhere;
 5-2                 (3)  obtain counseling on financial planning, budget
 5-3     management, conflict resolution, parenting skills, alcohol or drug
 5-4     abuse, or other matters causing the respondent to fail to obey the
 5-5     order;
 5-6                 (4)  pay required child support and any child support
 5-7     arrearages; and
 5-8                 (5)  pay court costs and attorney's fees ordered by the
 5-9     court.
5-10           SECTION 3.  (a)  This Act takes effect September 1, 1999.
5-11           (b)  The change in law made by this Act applies to a suit
5-12     affecting the parent-child relationship or a motion to modify an
5-13     order providing for possession of or access to a child that is
5-14     filed on or after the effective date of this Act.  A suit or motion
5-15     filed before the effective date of this Act is governed by the law
5-16     in effect on the date the suit or motion was filed, and the former
5-17     law is continued in effect for that purpose.
5-18           SECTION 4.  The importance of this legislation and the
5-19     crowded condition of the calendars in both houses create an
5-20     emergency and an imperative public necessity that the
5-21     constitutional rule requiring bills to be read on three several
5-22     days in each house be suspended, and this rule is hereby suspended.
         _______________________________     _______________________________
             President of the Senate              Speaker of the House
               I certify that H.B. No. 2441 was passed by the House on May
         4, 1999, by a non-record vote; and that the House concurred in
         Senate amendments to H.B. No. 2441 on May 26, 1999, by a non-record
                                                 Chief Clerk of the House
               I certify that H.B. No. 2441 was passed by the Senate, with
         amendments, on May 24, 1999, by the following vote:  Yeas 30, Nays
                                                 Secretary of the Senate
         APPROVED:  _____________________