SCS CSHB 385(JUD): "An Act relating to awarding child custody; and providing for an effective date."
00 SENATE CS FOR CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 385(JUD) 01 "An Act relating to awarding child custody; and providing for an effective date." 02 BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF ALASKA: 03 * Section 1. AS 25.20.060(a) is amended to read: 04 (a) If there is a dispute over child custody, either parent may petition the 05 superior court for resolution of the matter under AS 25.20.060 - 25.20.130. The court 06 shall award custody on the basis of the best interests of the child. In determining the 07 best interests of the child, the court shall consider all relevant factors, including those 08 factors enumerated in AS 25.24.150(c), and the presumption established in 09 AS 25.24.150(g). In a custody determination under this section, the court shall 10 provide for visitation by a grandparent or other person if that is in the best interests of 11 the child. 12 * Sec. 2. AS 25.20.070 is amended to read: 13 Sec. 25.20.070. Temporary custody of the child. Unless it is shown to be 14 detrimental to the welfare of the child considering the factors under 15 AS 25.24.150(c), or unless the presumption under AS 25.24.150(g) is present, the
01 child shall have, to the greatest degree practical, equal access to both parents during 02 the time that the court considers an award of custody under AS 25.20.060 - 25.20.130. 03 * Sec. 3. AS 25.20.090 is amended to read: 04 Sec. 25.20.090. Factors for consideration in awarding shared child 05 custody. In determining whether to award shared custody of a child the court shall 06 consider 07 (1) the child's preference if the child is of sufficient age and capacity to 08 form a preference; 09 (2) the needs of the child; 10 (3) the stability of the home environment likely to be offered by each 11 parent; 12 (4) the education of the child; 13 (5) the advantages of keeping the child in the community where the 14 child presently resides; 15 (6) the optimal time for the child to spend with each parent considering 16 (A) the actual time spent with each parent; 17 (B) the proximity of each parent to the other and to the school 18 in which the child is enrolled; 19 (C) the feasibility of travel between the parents; 20 (D) special needs unique to the child that may be better met by 21 one parent than the other; 22 (E) the willingness and ability of each [WHICH] parent [IS 23 MORE LIKELY] to facilitate and encourage a close [FREQUENT] and 24 continuing relationship between [CONTACT WITH] the other parent and 25 the child, except that the court may not consider this willingness and 26 ability if one parent shows that the other parent has sexually assaulted or 27 engaged in domestic violence against the parent or a child, and that a 28 continuing relationship with the other parent will endanger the health or 29 safety of either the parent or the child; 30 (7) any findings and recommendations of a neutral mediator; 31 (8) any evidence of domestic violence, child abuse, or child neglect in
01 the proposed custodial household or a history of violence between the parents; 02 (9) evidence that substance abuse by either parent or other members of 03 the household directly affects the emotional or physical well-being of the child; 04 (10) other factors the court considers pertinent. 05 * Sec. 4. AS 25.24.150(c) is amended to read: 06 (c) The court shall determine custody in accordance with the best interests of 07 the child under AS 25.20.060 - 25.20.130. In determining the best interests of the 08 child the court shall consider 09 (1) the physical, emotional, mental, religious, and social needs of the 10 child; 11 (2) the capability and desire of each parent to meet these needs; 12 (3) the child's preference if the child is of sufficient age and capacity to 13 form a preference; 14 (4) the love and affection existing between the child and each parent; 15 (5) the length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory 16 environment and the desirability of maintaining continuity; 17 (6) the willingness [DESIRE] and ability of each parent to facilitate 18 [ALLOW AN OPEN] and encourage a close [LOVING FREQUENT 19 RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE CHILD] and continuing relationship between 20 the other parent and the child, except that the court may not consider this 21 willingness and ability if one parent shows that the other parent has sexually 22 assaulted or engaged in domestic violence against the parent or a child, and that 23 a continuing relationship with the other parent will endanger the health or safety 24 of either the parent or the child; 25 (7) any evidence of domestic violence, child abuse, or child neglect in 26 the proposed custodial household or a history of violence between the parents; 27 (8) evidence that substance abuse by either parent or other members of 28 the household directly affects the emotional or physical well-being of the child; 29 (9) other factors that the court considers pertinent. 30 * Sec. 5. AS 25.24.150 is amended by adding new subsections to read: 31 (g) There is a rebuttable presumption that a parent who has a history of
01 perpetrating domestic violence against the other parent, a child, or a domestic living 02 partner may not be awarded sole legal custody, sole physical custody, joint legal 03 custody, or joint physical custody of a child. 04 (h) A parent has a history of perpetrating domestic violence under (g) of this 05 section if the court finds that, during one incident of domestic violence, the parent 06 caused serious physical injury or the court finds that the parent has engaged in more 07 than one incident of domestic violence. The presumption may be overcome by a 08 preponderance of the evidence that the perpetrating parent has successfully completed 09 an intervention program for batterers, where reasonably available, that the parent does 10 not engage in substance abuse, and that the best interests of the child require that 11 parent's participation as a custodial parent because the other parent is absent, suffers 12 from a diagnosed mental illness that affects parenting abilities, or engages in substance 13 abuse that affects parenting abilities, or because of other circumstances that affect the 14 best interests of the child. 15 (i) If the court finds that both parents have a history of perpetrating domestic 16 violence under (g) of this section, the court shall either 17 (1) award sole legal and physical custody to the parent who is less 18 likely to continue to perpetrate the violence and require that the custodial parent 19 complete a treatment program; or 20 (2) if necessary to protect the welfare of the child, award sole legal or 21 physical custody, or both, to a suitable third person if the person would not allow 22 access to a violent parent except as ordered by the court. 23 (j) If the court finds that a parent has a history of perpetrating domestic 24 violence under (g) of this section, the court shall allow only supervised visitation by 25 that parent with the child, conditioned on that parent's participating in and successfully 26 completing an intervention program for batterers, and a parenting education program, 27 where reasonably available, except that the court may allow unsupervised visitation if 28 it is shown by a preponderance of the evidence that the violent parent has completed a 29 substance abuse treatment program if the court considers it appropriate, is not abusing 30 alcohol or psychoactive drugs, does not pose a danger of mental or physical harm to 31 the child, and unsupervised visitation is in the child's best interests.
01 (k) The fact that an abused parent suffers from the effects of the abuse does 02 not constitute a basis for denying custody to the abused parent unless the court finds 03 that the effects of the domestic violence are so severe that they render the parent 04 unable to safely parent the child. 05 * Sec. 6. This Act takes effect July 1, 2004.