The Policy center has made the following recommendations in bold to Representative Middleton(the author and sponsor of HB 2157).
(c) If the court renders an order appointing the parents
joint managing conservators under this section, the court shall
enter a possession order under Subchapter F-1 that provides for
equal parenting, unless the court determines that order is not in
the best interest of the child after demonstrating state authority that is narrowly tailored to achieve a compelling state interest and through applying means that the court has demonstrated to be the least restrictive on the rights at issue, in which case the court may enter:
Without the changes that the Policy Center recommends we foresee the following:
- The wording in the bill as it stands allows the judges to just avoid ordering joint custody based on their unqualified viewpoint instead of applying the standard of constitutional review that is required.
- And the wording in the bill as it stands also allows judges to continue to do exactly what they have been doing, using best interest as a way to avoid applying the standard of constitutional review that is required.
These recommendations also follow a recent Attorney General opinion, KP-0241, issued on Representative White’s inquiry.