An Act To Authorize a Court To Appoint a Parenting Coordinator To Assist in Domestic Relations Actions
Sec. 1. 19-A MRSA §1653, sub-§2, ¶D, as amended by PL 2001, c. 329, §2, is further amended to read:
(1) Allocated parental rights and responsibilities, shared parental rights and responsibilities or sole parental rights and responsibilities, according to the best interest of the child as provided in subsection 3. An award of shared parental rights and responsibilities may include either an allocation of the child's primary residential care to one parent and rights of parent-child contact to the other parent, or a sharing of the child's primary residential care by both parents. If either or both parents request an award of shared primary residential care and the court does not award shared primary residential care of the child, the court shall state in its decision the reasons why shared primary residential care is not in the best interest of the child;
(2) Conditions of parent-child contact in cases involving domestic abuse as provided in subsection 6;
(3) A provision for child support as provided in subsection 8 or a statement of the reasons for not ordering child support;
(4) A statement that each parent must have access to records and information pertaining to a minor child, including, but not limited to, medical, dental and school records and other information on school activities, whether or not the child resides with the parent, unless that access is found not to be in the best interest of the child or that access is found to be sought for the purpose of causing detriment to the other parent. If that access is not ordered, the court shall state in the order its reasons for denying that access;
(5) A statement that violation of the order may result in a finding of contempt and imposition of sanctions as provided in subsection 7; and
(6) A statement of the definition of shared parental rights and responsibilities contained in section 1501, subsection 5, if the order of the court awards shared parental rights and responsibilities . ; and
(7) If the court appoints a parenting coordinator pursuant to section 1659, a parenting plan defining areas of parental rights and responsibilities within the scope of the parenting coordinator’s authority.
An order modifying a previous order is not required to include provisions of the previous order that are not modified.
Sec. 2. 19-A MRSA §1659 is enacted to read:
§ 1659. Parenting coordination and assistance
(1) On July 1, 2009 is listed in the roster of guardians ad litem maintained by the Chief Judge of the District Court pursuant to rules adopted by the Supreme Judicial Court, or who holds one or more of the licenses listed in the rules and is listed on the roster after July 1, 2009 after completing the other requirements set forth in the rules; and
(2) Meets any other qualifications and requirements established by the Supreme Judicial Court.
(1) The parents have demonstrated a pattern of persistent inability or unwillingness to:
(a) Make parenting decisions on their own;
(b) Comply with parenting agreements and orders;
(c) Reduce their child-related conflicts; or
(d) Protect their child from the effects of those conflicts; and
(2) Appointment of the parenting coordinator is in the best interest of the child.
Sec. 3. Accountability and complaint process. The Supreme Judicial Court may enter into an agreement with a professional organization of guardians ad litem, the purpose of which is to improve the practice of guardians ad litem, to establish a process to collect and review evaluations and complaints about parenting coordinators established pursuant to the Maine Revised Statutes, Title 19-A, section 1659. The organization may charge the parenting coordinators a fee, approved by the Supreme Judicial Court, for the work, but there may not be a cost to the judicial branch. A person who has not paid the required fee may not be designated as a parenting coordinator on the guardian ad litem roster established by the Supreme Judicial Court. The judicial branch is not required to establish a complaint process.
Beginning in 2010, the organization shall make an annual report by February 1st of each year to the Supreme Judicial Court and the joint standing committee of the Legislature having jurisdiction over judiciary matters. The report must include information about comments and complaints regarding parenting coordinators made to the organization, any investigation or review undertaken by the organization in response to comments and complaints and any recommendations for action by the Supreme Judicial Court and the Legislature.
Sec. 4. Report. Beginning March 1, 2010, the Supreme Judicial Court shall submit an annual report to the joint standing committee of the Legislature having jurisdiction over judiciary matters describing the use of parenting coordinators in domestic relations actions pursuant to the Maine Revised Statutes, Title 19-A, section 1659. The committee may report out legislation relating to parenting coordinators to the 124th Legislature and the 125th Legislature based on information and any recommendations in the reports.