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Texas Bill Mandates Parent Notify Other Parent of a Relationship With a Domestic Abuser

A parent appointed as a conservator of a child by court order has a duty to disclose to the other conservator of the child if they are living with a registered sex offender. H.B. 1470, filed by Senfronia Thompson (D-Houston) would require similar disclosure for a parent who is living with someone who has committed family violence, or becomes charged with family violence.

Texas law requires judges to order that each conservator of a child has a duty to timely inform the other conservator of significant information concerning the health, education, and welfare of a child.

The Texas Family Code mandates that judges in family law matters order each conservator of a child to inform the other conservator if the conservator resides with for at least 30 days, marries, or intends to marry a person who the conservator knows is registered as a sex offender, or is currently charged with an offense for which the person would have to register as a sex offender.

Section 153.076 of the Family Code would be amended to require judges to order each person appointed as a conservator of a child to inform the other conservator if the conservator is residing with, intends to marry, or marries, a person who is the subject of a protective order in which the person has been found to have committed family violence. The same mandate applies to those who become charged with an offense involving family violence for which a protective order may be rendered.

Protective orders are rendered pursuant to Chapter 85 of the Texas Family Code and are issued upon a judicial finding that: (1) family violence has occurred; and (2) family violence is likely to occur in the future.

A judge issuing a protective order can prohibit the person found to have committed family violence from: committing future acts of family violence; communicating in a threatening or harassing manner directly with a person, or their family or household of a person protected by an order; or going near the home, place of employment or business or child-care facility or school of a person or child protected under the order; or possessing a firearm (unless the person is a full-time peace officer).

Texas law mandating certain time requirements for giving notice of relationships with registered sex offenders, would also be required for those who have a relationship with a person who is the subject of, or could be the subject of, a protective order for family violence.

This notice is required to be made “as soon as practicable but not later than the 40th day after the date the conservator of the child begins to reside with the person or the 10th day after the date the marriage occurs, as appropriate.”

A conservator commits a criminal offense if the conservator fails to provide notice as required under this Family Code section. The offense is a Class C misdemeanor.

H.B. 1470 was referred to the House Juvenile Justice and Family Issues Committee on March 5th. Vice Chairman of the Committee, Texas State Representative Debbie Riddle (R-Houston) told Breitbart Texas, that “The first priority for our laws regarding family law must put the children first.”

If passed, the Act would take effect September 1, 2015.

Lana Shadwick is a contributing writer and legal analyst for Breitbart Texas. She has served Texas as an associate family court judge. Follow her on Twitter @LanaShadwick2

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