SS/SB 35 - This act adds a rebuttable presumption when determining child custody arrangements that an award of equal or approximately equal parenting time to each parent is in the best interests of the child. Such presumption may be rebutted by a preponderance of the evidence as specified in the act, including an agreement by the parents on all issues related to custody or a finding by the court that a pattern of domestic violence has occurred. The General Assembly urges the court to enter a temporary parenting plan as soon as practicable in a manner that will best assure both parents participate in custody decisions and have frequent, continuing, and meaningful contact with their children.

Additionally, current law requires a court considering child custody to consider and enter written findings of fact and conclusions of law on the child's wishes as to his or her custodian. This act modifies this provision to require that the court instead consider the child's unobstructed input, free of coercion and manipulation, as to his or her custodial arrangement.

These provisions are identical to SCS/SB 129 (2023) and substantially similar to SB 839 (2022), SCS/SB 459 (2021) and SB 199 (2021), SB 531 (2020), SCS/HCS/HB 229 (2019), SB 14 (2019), SCS/HCS/HB 1667 (2018), SB 645 (2018), and HCS/HB 724 (2017).

This act provides that the hearings to determine whether the suspension of a business, occupational, professional, recreational, or other license is appropriate when an obligor is not in compliance with a child support order shall comply with due process and shall consider all relevant factors, including the obligor's current and past ability to pay the support, his or her need for transportation, and his or her need for the license for continued employment.

The court or the Director of the Family Support Division shall consider and issue written findings of fact and conclusions of law within 30 days of the hearing. If the court or the Director, after the hearing, determines that the obligor has not made the required payments for good cause, then the court or Director shall not issue an order suspending the license or, if an order is in place, shall stay such order.

This act is substantially similar to SB 685 (2022), SS/SB 317 (2021), SB 606 (2020), and SCS/SB 458 (2019).


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