2016-04-22 / Community

Court bill approved

A measure to strengthen and simplify the family justice process in cases involving children became law Thursday.

Public Law 459, “An Act to Ensure a Continuing Home Court for Cases Involving Children,” was authored by Rep. Kim Monaghan (D-Cape Elizabeth), a member of the Judiciary Committee. The law expands the District Court’s jurisdiction to include cases involving custody or other parental rights of a child, such as name changes or adoption. Once the District Court takes jurisdiction of a matter involving a child, it becomes that child’s “home court,” and all matters involving that child will proceed within the Family Division.

“Under the current system, multiple court cases regarding the care, support and custody of a child can be in more than one court, resulting in confusion and a drain on resources,” Monaghan said. “Family law cases are already challenging and emotionally draining, especially when children are involved. This law will simplify the court process to make it easier for families to navigate the system and achieve justice.”

Monaghan is serving her third term in the Maine House.

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