2016s second quarter has been a very busy one for Legislators. More than 150 new bills were signed into law, and many of them affect Family Law in Michigan. For that reason, we would like to provide our readers with a quick overview of some recent changes in state law, specifically as it relates to the victims of domestic violence, in the event that this has a direct impact on your life.
House Bill 4477
One of the new laws, HB 4477, will make it easier for the victims of domestic violence to process and serve notice of personal protection orders (PPO). The new law requires that the court provide for alternate service of legal papers, if a person is protected by a personal protection order. Namely, a sheriff, deputy sheriff, police officer, or other appointed officer of the court.
House Bill 4476
Another new law, HB 4476, limits mediations in certain domestic relations actions. This means that the court may not order mediation when one of the parties has a restraining order out against the other, or when one party is prohibited by the court from contacting the other, or one party has committed child abuse or neglect.
House Bill 4480
House Bill 4480 requires that judges do not allow the actions taken by a parent to protect their children from possible violence from the other parent, to affect their rulings on custody cases. In other words, if a parent has has done something that the court believes may have been unsafe, but was done as a desperate act to protect a child from possible sexual assault or domestic violence, this may not have an effect on any custody or visitation rulings made by the court.
House Bill 4481
And finally, HB 4481 forbids a judge to award custody or visitation to a parent who has been convicted of criminal sexual conduct involving forced penetration. In essence, if the child is the product of a sexual assault, the court may not award custody or parenting time to that parent. This applies even if the convicted parent was convicted by a federal court, or in another state.
We hope this has been helpful to you. Please remember that if you are confused about how these laws may affect you or your family, we urge you to contact an experienced family law attorney. Legislation can sometimes be difficult to interpret, and we are here to help.