January 28th, 2009 the 'Protective Parent Reform Act' was officially 'filed' with the Kansas legislature-
PROTECTIVE PARENT REFORM ACT ONLINE PETITION
Protective Parent Reform Act
We the people of Kansas urge our State Legislators, State Senators and Governor Kathleen Sebelius to enact a version of the Protective Parent Reform Act for the state of Kansas.
This Act shall be known as the "Protective Parent Reform Act." The purpose of this Act is to correct the trend in child custody and visitation cases wherein abused children, and children in homes where domestic violence exists, are placed by courts in the custody of the abusive or violent parent with the protective parent's custody, visitation, and contact with the child limited.
With such enactment or court rule applicable statewide in every court having jurisdiction over child custody, parental visitation, parenting time, parenting plans, conservatorship of children, or any other issue involving the residence of a child and the contact between the child and his or her parents, incidental to or following separation or divorce, or in connection with a paternity case where the parents were not married, to ensure that a parent who reasonably believes that his or her child is threatened by child abuse or domestic violence, perpetrated or allowed by the other parent is not punished by the court, or otherwise penalized by loss or limitation of custody, contact, or visitation with his or her child, or the child denied the custody and contact with that parent, for that parent's having such reasonable belief and for acting lawfully in accordance with such belief:
Proposed Legislation for the
To adopt a Protective Parent Reform Act in order to prevent courts in child custody and visitation cases from placing a child who is abused or neglected, or who lives in a home in which family violence exists, in the custody of the abusive, neglectful or violent parent and from limiting the protective parent's custody, visitation and contact rights.
AN ACT ADOPTING A PROTECTIVE PARENT REFORM ACT.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives
Domestic Relations and Juvenile "Child In Need Of Care"
(a) In any proceeding under Chapter 60, Article 16 and Chapter 38, Article 22 of the general statutes involving child custody and visitation and child in need in care proceedings:
(1) If a parent makes a good faith allegation, based on a reasonable belief supported by facts, that his or her child is the victim of abuse, neglect or family violence perpetrated or allowed by the other parent, and if the parent making such allegation acts lawfully and in good faith in accordance with such belief to protect the child or seek treatment for the child, such parent shall not be deprived of custody of or visitation or contact with the child based solely on such belief or the reasonable actions taken in accordance with such belief.
(2) If an allegation that a child is the victim of abuse, neglect or family violence perpetrated or allowed by a parent is supported by a preponderance of the evidence, the court shall consider such evidence in determining custody and visitation that is in the best interests of the child and shall not award custody of the child to the parent who presents a substantial risk of harm to the child.
(c) In any proceeding under the general statutes involving child custody and visitation: Domestic Family Law and Juvenile Child In Need Of Care Proceedings
(1) No ex parte communications shall be made between the court and any guardian ad litem for the child, counsel for the child, custody evaluator, mental health professional, conciliator, mediator, screener or other professional participating in the proceeding.
(2) The role of any guardian ad litem or counsel for the child shall be limited to advocating for the wishes of the child and participating in the proceeding by presenting evidence and argument in the same manner as counsel for the parent. The guardian ad litem or counsel for the child may not substitute his or her own opinion and judgment for the wishes of the child or offer any evidence which would be excluded under applicable law if offered by any other party. In no case shall the guardian ad litem or counsel for the child be deemed a quasi-judicial officer or be granted any fact-finding role. Nothing in this subdivision shall be construed to require the appointment of a guardian ad litem or counsel for the child in a proceeding involving child custody and visitation.
(3) The parents shall be provided full and timely access to all custody and mental health evaluations and reports that are to be considered in the proceeding, including all underlying data for such evaluations and reports, and shall be afforded the opportunity to depose prior to trial and to cross examine at trial each mental health professional or custody evaluator who will testify in the proceeding.
(4) No expert opinion or evidence attempting to discredit a parent's motivation for asserting that his or her child is the victim of abuse, neglect or family violence perpetrated or allowed by the other parent, or attempting to discredit a child's report of such abuse, neglect or family violence, shall be admissible, unless such expert opinion or evidence is based on concepts and theories generally accepted by the scientific community and supported by credible and admissible evidence of facts which can be established independently of such expert opinion or evidence.
(5) A parent shall not be deprived of custody of or visitation or contact with his or her child based on the opinion of a mental health professional that such parent is at risk of unlawfully fleeing with the child, unless credible and admissible evidence independent of such mental health professionals opinion establishes that such parent's plan or intent is to flee.
(6) No court-sponsored conciliation, mediation, intake screening or parenting education program may make any recommendation or report to the court regarding custody of or visitation or contact with the child unless all parties agree to the making of such recommendation or report. Both parents of the child shall have the right to contest such recommendation or report.
(7) Whenever abuse, neglect or family violence is an issue in the proceeding, no mental health professional or custody evaluator who lacks specialized training and experience in the type of abuse, neglect or family violence that is relevant to the specific allegations made may be appointed by the court to conduct any evaluation in the proceeding.
(8) Admissible evidence of abuse, neglect or family violence shall be considered by the court.
(9) No valid protective or restraining order issued and entered in the automated registry of protective orders maintained of the general statutes may be violated by the award of custody of or visitation or contact with the child to a parent who is the perpetrator of family violence.