HB 477: "An Act relating to mandatory educational courses for parents who seek a divorce or dissolution."

00 HOUSE BILL NO. 477                                                                                                      
01 "An Act relating to mandatory educational courses for parents who seek a divorce                                        
02 or dissolution."                                                                                                        
03 BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF ALASKA:                                                                
04    * Section 1.  AS 25.24 is amended by adding a new section to read:                                                   
05  Sec. 25.24.920.  EDUCATIONAL COURSES FOR PARENTS WHO SEEK                                                             
06 A DIVORCE OR DISSOLUTION OF MARRIAGE.  As a condition of granting a                                                     
07 decree of divorce or dissolution, a court shall require that parties who have minor                                     
08 children must present evidence that they have attended and completed an educational                                     
09 course administered under (c) of this section that instructs the parties about divorce or                               
10 dissolution, as appropriate, and                                                                                        
11   (1)  its potential effects on their children;                                                                        
12   (2)  its potential effects on their family relationships; and                                                        
13   (3)  the parties' financial responsibilities for their children.                                                     
14  (b)  A court, on its own motion or on the motion of one of the parties, may                                           
01 waive the requirement in (a) of this section for a particular party or for the parties in                               
02 a particular action if the court determines that course attendance and completion are                                   
03 not necessary, appropriate, feasible, or in the best interest of the parties.                                           
04  (c)  The administrative director of courts shall administer the course required                                       
05 under (a) of this section through contracts with public or private entities.  The contract                              
06 must provide for the recoupment of administrative expenses through the costs charged                                    
07 to individual parties under (d) of this section.                                                                        
08  (d)  Except as provided in (e) of this section, each party ordered to attend an                                       
09 educational course under this section shall bear the expense of the course and, in                                      
10 addition, pay a fee determined by the court system to be sufficient to cover the                                        
11 administrative expenses of the administrative director of courts under (c) of this                                      
12 section.                                                                                                                
13  (e)  A party who is unable to pay the costs imposed under (d) of this section                                         
14 may attend the required course without payment upon a prima facie showing of                                            
15 inability to pay as evidenced by an affidavit of inability to pay that must be filed with                               
16 the court.  In those situations, the contractor shall be reimbursed for its costs by the                                
17 court, subject to the availability of appropriations for this purpose.  Before a decree                                 
18 of divorce or dissolution may be granted in an action governed by this section, the                                     
19 court shall make a final review and determination of the ability of a party to pay for                                  
20 the costs imposed under (d) of this section and may order the payment of the costs by                                   
21 a person who filed an affidavit of inability to pay under this subsection if the court                                  
22 determines at the final review that the person is able to pay the costs.                                                
23    * Sec. 2.  APPLICABILITY.  The requirements of this Act apply to actions for divorce or                              
24 dissolution that are filed on or after the effective date of this Act.