Ah yes, California lawmaking at its finest.  For those who missed it, California’s legislature, in its great wisdom, has once again effectuated new legislative amendments that will have an affect on how child custody is handled in California.  In amending sections 2040 and 3134.5 of the California Family Code, the lawmakers amended California family law to:

  1. add a passport restriction to the automatic temporary restraining orders (ATROs) in the family law summons, and
  1. authorize a court to include a provision in a protective custody warrant that freezes the California assets of a party alleged to be in unlawful possession of a  child.

This January 1st 2013 piece of legislation is entitled SB 1206. The law used to provide for ATROs on the reverse side of the family law summons, which include in part a restraint on removing the minor child or children of the parties, if any, from the state, without the prior written consent of the other party or an order of the court.  (Family Code §2040(a)(1)). This restraint, under SB 1206, will now include the provision that a party must not apply for a new or replacement passport for the minor child or children without written consent of the other party or a court order. (Family Code §2040(a)(1)). The new senate bill also amends the protective custody warrant provisions of Family Code §3134.5 by authorizing a court to include in such a warrant a provision to freeze the California assets of the party alleged to be in unlawful possession of the child.  Under this provision, “assets” include funds held in a depository institution that is defined by California law.  (Family Code §3134.5(c)). By means of a noticed motion, the freeze may be terminated, modified, or vacated by the court on a finding that the release of the assets will not jeopardize the safety or best interest of the child.  (Family Code §3145.5c).  The warrant itself may be dismissed by the court on the basis of a declaration by the district attorney that the child has been recovered or the warrant is no longer needed in that case, if an asset freeze was earlier imposed, the depository institution must be immediately served with notice of dismissal of the warrant.  (Family Code §3134.5(b), (d)).