The Senate Judiciary Committee heard SB 190, on termination of parent-child relationship, authored by Sen. Charbonneau and Sen. Bray. Many states currently have laws of this nature. The bill, as amended, provides that if the alleged rapist is or alleges to be the biological parent and seeks custody, parenting time or contact with the child, and the court finds by clear and convincing evidence the child was conceived as the result of rape and the individual was the perpetrator of the rape, the court shall deny custody, parenting time and contact with the child. In addition, the court may not require the individual to pay child support. Director James Payne added this proposed law uses the Louisiana approach in requiring the perpetrator to take action before acquiring any rights, rather than requiring the mother to hire an attorney and file a Termination of Parental Rights action. Indiana Adoption Agencies United and Indiana Coalition Against Sexual Assault support the bill. The bill passed as amended, 8-0.
The House Family, Children and Human Affairs Committee heard HB 1252 regarding prerequisites for filing for dissolution of marriage authored by Rep. Noe. This bill enlarges the waiting period for dissolution of marriage. In a dissolution where there is a minor child, the parent who seeks a dissolution must file a notice of intent to file a dissolution, and wait 120 days for the dissolution if both parents complete a divorce education program. The wait is 300 days if one or both parents do not complete a divorce education program. The bill provides exceptions to these requirements. Members of the committee expressed concern (1) at being required to stay with someone when the intent to file the dissolution was made, (2) the mechanics of where to file the intent document and service of it, (3) the potential to allege and prove an exception to the waiting requirement which might be fraudulent, (4) problems with protection orders associated with the dissolution, and (5) other issues. The Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence expressed concern about, among other items, the lack of provisions for indigents required to take the educational program for the lesser waiting period. Attorneys testified to the potential for fraud in order to meet the exceptions. A representative from the Indiana Family Institute, the Indiana Pastors’ Alliance, the Indiana Healthy Family Coalition, and others testified in favor of lengthening the waiting period and the benefits of keeping the family intact. There was no vote taken by the committee on the legislation