California Family Law Updates for 2024
Every year on January 1, a spate of new laws go into effect touching on nearly every subject imaginable, including family law. 2024 is no different. California, long known for being at the cutting edge of legal trends, frequently updates its family laws to take into account a variety of changes in social dynamics. Below, our Stockton family law attorneys provide an overview of some of the new family laws going into effect in 2024.
SB 331 (Piqui’s Law: Keeping Children Safe From Family Violence Act)
For many years, California family law courts have engaged in the practice of sending children and their parents to “reunification camps” or therapy. They typically employ this practice when one parent alleges that the other parent is engaging in parental alienation. In many cases, the child is forcibly removed from their home and sent to a reunification camp with the other parent — even if there are credible allegations of domestic violence against that parent.
Piqui’s Law would prohibit courts from ordering such therapies in certain cases, including when they require the use of third-party transportation to the other parent, a no-contact order against the safe parent, or a transfer of the legal or physical custody of the child. The bill is named after Aramazd “Piqui” Andressian, Jr., who was killed by his father during a custody dispute.
The bill also establishes an ongoing training and education program for judicial officers who perform duties in domestic violence or child custody matters.
AB 665 (Self-Consent of Some Minors to Mental Health Services)
Divorce and other family law disputes can take a significant toll on minors’ mental health. Under former California law, a minor aged 12 or older could only self-consent to mental health treatment or counseling on an outpatient basis if both of the following were true:
- The minor is mature enough to participate intelligently in the services (in the opinion of the attending professional), and
- The minor (a) would present a danger of serious physical or mental harm to themselves or others without the services, or (b) is the alleged victim of incest or child abuse
AB 665 removes the second requirement, allowing minors aged 12 and older to self-consent to mental health care services without needing to show a risk of harm or that they are the victims of incest or child abuse. The mental health services offered by the bill would include the involvement of the minor’s parent or guardian unless the professional who is treating the minor determines that such involvement would not be appropriate. For more information about minors’ consent to mental health services with or without the involvement of a parent, please contact a Stockton family law attorney.
AB 1148 (Extension of Child Support Suspension)
Under former California family law, child support obligations were suspended for individuals who were incarcerated or involuntarily institutionalized for any period exceeding 90 days. The obligation to pay child support resumed on the first day of the first full month after the release of the person owing support. This suspension did not apply to incarcerated or institutionalized individuals who were nonetheless capable of paying child support.
AB 1148 extends the child support suspension period. Instead of payments resuming on the first day of the first full month after release, they will now resume on the first full day of the 10th month after release in the amount previously ordered. However, if the person who owes child support obtains employment prior to the date that the payments are set to resume, the person to whom child support is owed may seek a court order reinstating the payments earlier. If the person to whom child support is owed obtains a court order reinstating child support obligations before the 10th month, the amount is to be determined by the court, which may or may not be the same amount as previously ordered.
SB 343 (Child Support)
SB 343 makes several changes to the law surrounding child support:
- Repeals the sections of the Family Code that allow courts to authorize the entry of expedited child support orders.
- Updates the statewide uniform child support guidelines (as it is required to do periodically)
- Increases the ceiling for the low-income child support adjustment to a net disposable income that is less than that earned from working a full-time minimum-wage job
- In cases where a parent’s annual gross income is unknown, authorizes courts to consider the earning capacity of the parent
For more information about how child support is calculated in California — including how to obtain an order for modification of child support — please contact a Stockton family law attorney.
AB 1650 (Assisted Reproduction and Parentage)
Under former and current California law, if a woman conceives through assisted reproduction with semen or ova or both donated by someone who is not the woman’s spouse (e.g., through in vitro fertilization) with another intended parent, that intended parent is treated as if he or she is the child natural parent. The donor of the semen or ova is treated only as a donor and not a natural parent of the child. However, formerly, a donor in the above scenario could be treated as a natural parent if the two parties executed an agreement prior to conception that the donor would be a parent or there is evidence that the parties intended the donor to be a parent (in some cases).
AB 1650 allows two people who are not married to each other and who share legal control over the disposition of embryos to enter into a written agreement whereby one person renounces all legal interest in the embryos regardless of any prior oral or written agreements or legal judgments to the contrary.
Get Help With Your Family Matters From a Stockton Family Law Attorney
Regardless of whether the latest updates to California family law affect your family, the Stockton family law attorneys at McKinley, Conger, Jolley & Galarneau are ready to assist you. For more information, please contact us by using our online form or calling us at 209-477-8171.