2021 Regular Session
To: Judiciary, Division A
By: Senator(s) Wiggins, McCaughn, Branning, Suber, Parker, England, Hill
AN ACT TO ESTABLISH A "TASK FORCE TO STUDY MISSISSIPPI'S LAWS REGARDING THE AWARDING AND CALCULATING OF CHILD SUPPORT, ALIMONY AND OTHER RELATED MATTERS IN DOMESTIC LAW"; TO PRESCRIBE THE MEMBERSHIP OF THE TASK FORCE AND PROVIDE FOR ITS ORGANIZATION; TO PROVIDE FOR A REPORT BY THE TASK FORCE; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. (1) There is hereby established the "Task Force to Study Mississippi's Laws Regarding the Awarding and Calculating of Child Support, Alimony and Other Related Matters in Domestic Law" to develop a recommendation to the Legislature and the Mississippi Supreme Court relative to revising Mississippi's domestic relations laws to reflect current jurisprudence in these areas and to propose legislation and rule changes based upon its recommendation.
(2) The members of the Task Force shall be as follows:
(a) The Chairmen of the Judiciary A Committees of the Mississippi Senate and the Mississippi House of Representatives;
(b) One (1) designee of the Mississippi Supreme Court to be named by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court;
(c) One (1) designee of the Mississippi Court of Appeals to be named by the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals;
(d) Two (2) sitting Chancellors to be named by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court;
(e) Two (2) practicing attorneys in the State of Mississippi with expertise in the area of domestic relations, one (1) from each of the federal judicial districts to be named by the Mississippi Bar Association;
(f) One (1) practicing attorney who is a general practitioner with expertise in the area of domestic relations and who practices in a firm with five (5) or fewer licensed attorneys to be named by the Mississippi Bar Association;
(g) Two (2) practicing guardians ad litem to be named by the Mississippi Bar Association;
(h) One (1) practicing or retired attorney with expertise in disability law and domestic law to be named by the Mississippi Bar Association;
(i) One (1) designee of the Child Support Unit of the Mississippi Department of Human Services to be named by the executive director of the department;
(j) One (1) professor of law with expertise in domestic law to be named by the Dean of the University of Mississippi School of Law; and
(k) One (1) professor of law with expertise in domestic law to be named by the Dean of the Mississippi College School of Law.
(3) The Task Force shall meet within forty-five (45) days of the effective date of this act, upon the call of the Governor, and shall evaluate the current domestic laws and cases in Mississippi. Specifically the Task Force shall:
(a) Review the models used by states to determine the base child support amount due, including the "Income Shares Model," the "Percentage of Income Model" and the "Melson Formula," which incorporate a self-support reserve for the obligor and take into consideration the health care expenses of the children;
(b) Review special provisions for child care expenses, formulas for shared custody, split custody and extraordinary visitation, and deductions for the support of previous and subsequent children;
(c) Review the current trends of law regarding "No-Fault Divorce" and make recommendation(s) based on said review;
(d) Review the current trends in the imposition and cost of fees for guardian ad litem and related issues on guardians and make recommendation(s) based on said review;
(e) Review Senate Bill No. 2220, 2021 Regular Session, and make recommendation(s) based on said review; and
(f) Review any other matters related to the above issues or related to domestic law.
(4) The Task Force may request the assistance of the University of Mississippi School of Law and the Mississippi College School of Law, the Mississippi Judicial College, the Mississippi Administrative Office of Courts and the proper section of the Mississippi Bar Association, or any other related organization with expertise in domestic relations.
(5) The members of the Task Force shall elect a Chair from among the members. The Task Force shall develop and report its findings and recommendations for proposed legislation to the Legislature and proposed rule changes to the Mississippi Supreme Court on or before December 1, 2021. A quorum of the membership shall be required to approve any final report and recommendation. Members of the Task Force shall be reimbursed for necessary travel expense in the same manner as public employees are reimbursed for official duties from any available funds and members of the Legislature shall be reimbursed in the same manner as for attending out-of-session committee meetings.
(6) The Mississippi Bar Association and the Mississippi Judicial College shall provide necessary clerical support for the meetings of the Task Force and the preparation of the report. Proposed legislation shall be prepared by the Legislative Services Offices of the Senate and House as requested.
(7) Upon presentation of its report the Task Force shall be dissolved.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2021.