SB 0740 Creates the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act
LR Number:2804L.01P Fiscal Note:2804-01
Committee:Aging, Families and Mental Health
Last Action:04/24/02 - Hearing Conducted H Civil & Administrative Law Journal page:
Effective Date:August 28, 2002
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Current Bill Summary

SB 740 - This act repeals Missouri's Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act and adopts the current version of the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act. The act does not govern adoption proceedings, proceedings pertaining to the authorization of emergency medical care for a child or proceedings governed by the Indian Child Welfare Act. Courts are required to treat a foreign country as a state of the United States for purposes of applying the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, except where the child custody law of the foreign country violates fundamental human rights principles. The act gives limited immunity from service of process to parties participating in proceedings under the act who otherwise are not subject to personal jurisdiction in this state.

Any court of this state that has made a child custody determination pursuant to the Act has exclusive continuing jurisdiction over the determination under certain conditions, and the court is granted temporary emergency jurisdiction to make a child custody determination regarding a child present in this state when such a determination is necessary due to abandonment or abuse. The act itemizes relevant factors which a court may consider before making a determination whether it is an inconvenient forum.

In the enforcement provisions, the act enforces child custody determinations and orders for the return of a child pursuant to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. The act also authorizes a court of this state, without modification, jurisdiction to temporarily enforce visitation ordered by a court in another state, and authorizes registration of a child custody determination issued by a court in another state in the same manner as foreign judgments are registered. Information which must be included in a petition for enforcement of a child custody determination is specified in the act, as well as the procedure for acting upon the child custody determination enforcement petition.

The act authorizes the issuance of a warrant to take physical custody of a child likely to suffer serious imminent physical harm or removal from this state, and requires payment of the prevailing party's costs and expenses by the non-prevailing party. The act does not apply retroactively to motions or other requests for relief initiated before August 28, 2000. Sections 452.700 through 452.895 are substantially similar to SB 603 (2000) and SB 135 (2001).

This act also requires the use of National Medical Support notice to enforce health benefit plan coverage required in child support orders.

Current law requires the Circuit Clerk to send notice to employers when a parent has been ordered to provide health insurance coverage for a child. Current language regarding the contents of the notice is deleted and new language requires the notice to comply with the National Medical Support Notice (NMSN) as required by federal law. The Division of Child Support Enforcement must give notice within two days of notification of the employee's hire and must also promptly notify employers when an order for medical support is no longer in effect. The notice must contain certain information and is binding on current and subsequent employers (Section 454.606).

The clerk must currently send a notice to the obligor. This act requires the inclusion of a statement that the parent may contest the notice within 30 days. The parent may contest based on mistake of fact or because the parent obtained other insurance prior to issue of the withholding order (Section 454.609).

Currently, the employer is to transfer the notice to the health insurer upon receipt. This act requires such transfer within 20 business days. Within forty business days, the health plan administrator must notify the agency to verify the child is covered, the effective date of the coverage, and provide forms regarding the coverage (Section 454.615).

Current law outlines steps the employer must take to enroll the child in the health benefit plan. This act clarifies that the employer must withhold the amount necessary to cover the child and send it to the health plan. The child must be enrolled in the least costly plan if a plan is not already designated. If the notice is a NMSN, the health plan must provide plan descriptions and the agency and the custodial parent will select a plan for the child. If the agency does not select a plan within 20 days, the health plan must enroll the child in its default option, if possible (Section 454.618).

Procedures are currently outlined for the termination of an obligor's employment. This act requires the employer to notify the Division or agency of the obligor's location and new employer, if known (Section 454.627)

COBRA coverage is currently required, if necessary. This act prohibits the child from being terminated from coverage unless the insurer is given evidence that the order is no longer in effect, the child is or will be enrolled in a comparable plan, the employer eliminated health care coverage for all employees, or continuation of coverage is not chosen (Section 454.700). Sections 454.606 through 454.700 are identical to SB 1160 and HB 1780 (2002).