A significant role of the Family Law Executive Committee is to propose affirmative legislation to address issues or problems within family law. This message addresses the affirmative legislation process, current affirmative legislation being developed by FLEXCOM, and how you can be involved with future FLEXCOM affirmative legislation.
The Affirmative Legislation Process
FLEXCOM members on an annual basis develop affirmative legislation proposals. The proposals may come from within FLEXCOM, proposed by current members, advisors or liaisons on FLEXCOM. Or we may receive suggestions from members of the family law bar. Those proposals are turned into formal proposals and brought to legislators to introduce in the current legislative session. This process does involve a tight time deadline. All affirmative legislation proposals must be formalized before the new legislation session convenes in January. Because each new FLEXCOM term begins in September or October, there is a very a narrow window of time to develop and propose affirmative legislation. It is therefore important that the process begins before the start of the next FLEXCOM term.
Proposed Affirmative Legislation Currently in Development
FLEXCOM is currently developing an affirmative legislation proposal to amend Code of Civil Procedure §1218 in order to add a provision permitting probation in Family Law contempt cases. There is currently a division among family law judicial officers about whether probation can be ordered in Family Law contempt proceedings because §1218 does not explicitly allow for probation as one of the options the court can consider during sentencing. The motivation for this proposal is to give judicial officers more flexibility in contempt sentencing in order to encourage and promote compliance with the order for which a litigant has been found in contempt.
Future Affirmative Legislation and Your Role
The purpose of affirmative legislation is to bring to legislators’ attention an issue or problem in family law that is perceived to require correction. To encourage inclusion of the entire family law bar in this process, FLEXCOM encourages Family Law Section members to make suggestions for the affirmative legislation process. That entails identifying the issue that is to be corrected as well as how it can be corrected, with specific references to code sections or case law. If you have an affirmative legislation proposal, you are encouraged to send your proposal to FLEXCOM at FamilyLaw@calawyers.org. Your proposal will be forwarded to our affirmative legislation chair and discussed at a future FLEXCOM meeting.
Omne Trium Perfectum
Stephen D. Hamilton
Chair, Family Law Executive Committee of the
California Lawyers Association