H.Con.Res.72 – Making Child Safety the TOP Priority in Custody and Divorce Cases
In 2018, the United States Congress addressed the family court system for the first time in 30 years as the House of Representatives unanimously passed H.Con.Res.72. H.Con.Res.72 makes child safety the top priority in custody and divorce cases, focusing on protecting children and children’s rights. This measure was strongly supported by Kyra’s Champions as Jacqueline frequented the halls of Congress to secure its support.
The measure calls for:
- Child safety to be the first priority of custody and parenting adjudications, and courts should resolve safety risks and claims of family violence before assessing other best interest factors;
- All evidence admitted in custody and parenting adjudications should be subject to evidentiary admissibility standards;
- Evidence from court-affiliated or appointed fee-paid professionals regarding adult or child abuse allegations in custody cases should be considered only when the professional possesses documented expertise and experience in the relevant types of abuse, trauma, and the behaviors of victims and perpetrators;
- States should define required standards of expertise and experience for appointed fee-paid professionals who provide evidence to the court on behaviors of abuse victims and perpetrators, specify requirements for the contents of such professional reports, and require courts to find that any appointed professionals meet those standards;
- States should consider models under which court-appointed professionals are paid directly by the courts, with potential reimbursement by the parties after due consideration of the parties’ financial circumstances; and
- Congress should schedule hearings on family courts’ practices with regard to children’s safety and civil rights.