New Jersey State Bar Association - The voluntary Bar Association of New Jersey, serving members since 1899.

Capitol Report

September 1, 2008

By Valerie L. Brown and Tamika Wilson

Special Edition: Family Law

This is a special edition of the Capitol Report focusing on pending legislation relating to family law and rulemaking for various areas of practice. It is compiled by the legislative department of the New Jersey State Bar Association. Following each bill is the number, sponsor's name, NJSBA position, if any, bill description and status.

New Laws

P.L.2008 c.17 (Albano) (NJSBA takes no position) Extends temporary disability insurance to provide family leave benefits for workers caring for sick family members, newborns and newly adopted children. (A-873)

Pending Legislation

ABORTION

S-1760 (Bucco) (under review by the NJSBA) Establishes the Post-Viability Protection Act. On May 5, S-1760 was introduced and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

ADOPTION

S-111/A-2750 (Weinberg/Vainieri Huttle) (Under review by the NJSBA) Requires staff members of adoption agencies to undergo criminal history record background and child abuse record information checks. On May 19, A-2750 was introduced and referred to the Assembly Human Services Committee.

S-611/A-752/A-1224 (Vitale/Prieto/Wolfe) (NJSBA opposes) Permits an adopted person and certain others access to the adopted person's original birth certificate and other related information. On March 3, S-611 passed in the Senate (31-7) and was referred to the Assembly Human Services Committee.

S-1985/A-2878 (Ruiz/Evans) (Under review by the NJSBA) Permits payments in subsidized adoption under certain circumstances until a child reaches 21 years of age. On June 16, S-1985 was introduced and referred to the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee.

CHILD SUPPORT

S-1560/A-2617 (Turner/Oliver) (Under review by the NJSBA) Requires DHS to assess a $25 annual fee for the collection of certain child support payments and authorizes DHS to increase child support pass through. On June 23, S-1560 passed in the Senate (38-0) and was referred to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

S-1636 (Turner) (NJSBA supports) Requires a State IV-D agency to assess interest or late payment fees on unpaid child support. On May 5, S-1636 was introduced and referred to the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee.

CIVIL UNIONS

S-1967/A-2978 (Weinberg/Gusciora) (Under review by the NJSBA) Enacts the Freedom of Religion and Equality in Civil Marriage Act. On June 16, A-2978 was introduced and referred to the Assembly Judiciary Committee.

CHILD PROTECTION

S-1640 (Madden) (Under review by the NJSBA) Eliminates inheritance rights for a surviving parent who committed child abuse against a decedent child. On May 5, S-1640 was introduced and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

S-1741 (Cardinale) (Under review by the NJSBA) Requires psychologists to video-record sessions conducted with children alleged to be abused or neglected. On May 5, S-1741 was introduced and referred to the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee.

S-1871/A-2138 (Turner/Greenstein) (Under review by the NJSBA) Provides for mandatory life imprisonment for the sexual assault upon a minor. On May 22, S-1871 was introduced and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

A-2587 (Oliver) (Under review by the NJSBA) Expands the definition of an abused child to include youths between the ages of 18 and 21 who receive services from DCF. On May 5, A-2587 was introduced and referred to the Assembly Human Services Committee.

A-2726 (Conners) (Under review by the NJSBA) Expands the means to obtain a protective order for a minor. On May 19, A-2726 was introduced and referred to the Assembly Judiciary Committee.

CRIMES AND PENALTIES

S-1709 (Allen) (Under review by the NJSBA) Creates a civil rape shield law. On May 5, S-1709 was introduced and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

DIVORCE AND DOMESTIC RELATIONS

S-1645/A-2681 (Weinberg/Love) (Under review by the NJSBA) Prohibits alimony to persons who commit certain crimes resulting in death; eliminates inheritance rights for parents who abandon, abuse or neglect a child. On May 12, A-2681 was introduced and referred to the Assembly Judiciary Committee.

S-1746 (Turner) (Under review by the NJSBA) Provides that certain alimony payments may be deducted from gross income for purposes of the Homestead Property Tax Credit Act. On May 5, S-1746 was introduced and referred to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee.

A-2663 (Chiappone) (Under review by the NJSBA) Provides that the court shall make an order respecting custody of domestic companion animals in divorce upon request. On May 12, A-2663 was introduced and referred to the Assembly Judiciary Committee.

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

S-1106/A-1563 (Buono/Greenstein) (NJSBA opposes) Amends the stalking law to broaden protections for victims. On June 5, S-1106 was released from the Senate Judiciary Committee and is awaiting Senate vote.

S-1228/A-2749 (Vitale/Vainieri Huttle) (NJSBA takes no position) Allows a gross income tax deduction for 50 percent of contributions of $100 or more to domestic violence shelters. On May 19, A-2749 was introduced and referred to the Assembly Human Services Committee.

S-1799/A-853 (Gordon/Albano) (NJSBA supports) Requires certain persons to report suspected abuse, neglect or exploitation against vulnerable adults. On May 5, S-1799 was introduced and referred to the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee.

S-1894/A-2871 (Madden/Love) (Under review by the NJSBA) Permits a victim of domestic abuse to terminate a residential lease under certain circumstances; provides a procedure for a tenant to recover a security deposit. On June 5, S-1894 was introduced and referred to the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee.

S-1977/A-1196 (Cunningham/Chiappone) (Under review by the NJSBA) Requires prosecution of domestic violence-related cases in superior court; removes jurisdiction from municipal court. On June 12, S-1977 was introduced and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

A-571 (Voss) (Under review by the NJSBA) Creates the offense of impairing communications, which would constitute domestic violence in certain circumstances. On May 12, A-571 was released from the Assembly Judiciary Committee with a committee substitute and is awaiting Assembly vote.

A-746 (Prieto) (NJSBA supports) Requires the court, prior to granting a domestic violence victim's application to dissolve a restraining order, to make a finding that the application was made voluntarily. On May 12, A-746 was released from the Assembly Judiciary Committee with amendments and is awaiting Assembly vote.

A-2716 (Greenstein) (NJSBA opposes) Increases the civil penalty payable to the Domestic Violence Victims' Fund by persons who commit domestic violence. On May 12, S-2716 was introduced and referred to the Assembly Judiciary Committee.

HUMAN SERVICES

S-1119/A-2246 (Kean/Cryan) (NJSBA takes no position) Permits the parent of a stillborn child to request a certificate of birth resulting in stillbirth directly from the state registrar. On May 22, S-1119 passed in the Senate (39-0) and is awaiting Assembly vote.

S-1975/A-2120 (Lesniak/Cohen) (Under review by the NJSBA) Amends and supplements the New Jersey Parentage Act; requires blood and genetic testing under certain circumstances. On June 12, S-1975 was introduced and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

A-2798 (Lampitt) (Under review by the NJSBA) Establishes the Children's Saving Account Program in DCF; appropriates $2 million. On May 22, A-2798 was introduced and referred to Assembly Human Services Committee.

WORKERS' COMPENSATION

A-2787 (Rudder) (Under review by the NJSBA) Repeals the law providing benefits for family temporary disability leave. On May 22, A-2787 was introduced and referred to the Assembly Labor Committee.

Note: "Under review by the NJSBA" means that the bill is currently being examined by NJSBA sections, committees and/or Board of Trustees and a final position has not yet been reached on the measure.