July 24, 2024 5:34 pm

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Family Law bills this session: What you need to know

OLYMPIA, Wash., April 4, 2023—Several family law bills are being considered this legislative session which would directly impact how the state handles protection orders, child custody, domesic violence charges, and parental plans. 

Of these bills so far, three are effectively dead, one has been X-filed, two have passed both Chambers, and four have passed the Washington House and are currently in the Senate for discussion. 

What Family Law bills passed

HB-1088, concerning the Uniform Family Law Arbitration Act, passed both the House and Senate and was signed off by the Speaker on April 3. It now goes to Gov. Inslee’s desk for final signature. 

The Uniform Family Law Arbitration Act (UFLAA) is adopted to create a “statutory scheme for the arbitration of family law disputes,” it states. The UFLAA is similar to the Washington Uniform Arbitration Act, with several provisions specific to family law disputes, such as qualifications of an arbitrator, recording of hearings, and provisions related to protecting a party or child. 

HB-1121, concerning the Uniform Child Abduction Prevention Act, passed the House unanimously February 8 and is now currently in the Senate. 

The Uniform Child Abduction Prevention Act (UCAPA) provides a “process by which a court may impose various preventative restrictions and conditions on a respondent if the court finds there is a credible risk of child abduction,” it states. 

HB-1165, concerning civil remedies for unauthorized disclosure of intimate images, passed both the Senate and House and is awaiting the Governor’s signature. 

This would repeal current law imposing civil liability for wrongful disclosure of intimate images and replace it with the Uniform Civil Remedies for the Unauthorized Disclosure of Intimate Images Act (UCRUDIIA). This act defines terms like “consensual,” and “private”, among other things. 

HB-1696, concerning stalking-related offenses, unanimously passed the House, on February 27, and is currently in the Senate. 

This bill is geared toward protecting individuals of stalking by modifying the scope of conduct that constitutes the crime of stalking and certain conditions and exceptions related to stalking, while repealing the provision related to the crime of cyberstalking. 

HB-1652, concerning child support pass through, passed the House and is currently in the Senate. 

If passed, beginning on July 1, 2024, the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) must pass through to a Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) all current child support and child support arrears collected on behalf of the family each month.

The DSHS must “disregard and not count as income any amount of current child support and child support arrears passed through to TANF or WorkFirst applicants or recipients when determining eligibility for and the amount of assistance,” a bill analysis states. 

HB-1715, enacting comprehensive protections for victims of domestic violence and other violence involving family members or intimate partners, passed the House and is currently in the Senate. 

This bill would establish a domestic violence hotline, through the DSHS, require electronic monitoring to be available for all court jurisdictions in Washington, provide access to legal council for low income survivors of domestic violence, and establishes consequences of crimes committed related to domestic violence. 

Dead and X-filed Family Law bills

SB-5205, concerning limitations in parenting plans related to parental conduct, has been X-filed under Senate rules. “X-filing” is a term the action House and Senate Rules Committees use to refer to a bill that will move forward in the process. This often happens with a less active half of an existing companion bill. 

The bill redrafts and reorganizes much of the existing law, without substantive change, which the court uses to impose limitations on a parenting plan. An intent is added to the law which states “parents are responsible for protecting and preserving the health and well-being of their minor child. When a parent acts contrary to the health and well-being of their child, the court may, and  in some situations must, impose limitations intended to protect a child from harm.”

HB-1601, providing parental rights is effectively dead after being introduce in the House. SB5450, regarding Parenting Plans, is effectively dead and SB5624, appointment of Counsel re Child Custody, is also effectively dead.

RELATED ARTICLE: LOVICK’S BILL BRINGS NEW DISTRICT COURT JUDGE TO SNOHOMISH COUNTY

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