Update from the Drafting Committee on Non-Parental Child Custody and Visitation Act

The Non-Parental Child Custody and Visitation Act drafting committee met for a fifth time on March 24-25, 2017, in Washington, DC.  This was our second drafting meeting since the first reading last summer at the ULC Annual Meeting in Stowe, Vermont.  The committee continues to focus on concerns raised on the floor, and has decided to:  1) delete the concept of de facto parenting, and 2) limit the act to suits filed by non-parents who have either acted as “consistent caretakers” or have had “substantial contact with the child and denial of contact would present a detriment” to the child.  One of the committee’s primary challenges has been to provide a structure that would allow non-parents who have not had actual care, custody and control of a child to seek court-ordered access without violating Troxel.  We continue to make progress on these issues, and look forward to further comment from the floor this summer in San Diego.

Debra Lehrmann, Chair
Drafting Committee on Non-Parental Child Custody and Visitation Act

Update from the Drafting Committee on Non-Parental Child Custody and Visitation Act

Update from the Drafting Committee to Amend UCC Articles 1, 3, and 9 in connection with a registry for electronic mortgage notes

The Committee met for a second time on March 24 and 25, 2017, in Washington, DC.  The Committee had before it a draft of federal National Mortgage Note Registry Act which would establish an electronic registry for notes secured by residential real property and a draft of proposed amendments to Articles 1,3 and 9 of the Uniform Commercial Code to modify the rules for negotiable instruments and secured transactions to accommodate electronic mortgage notes filed in the registry.

The current draft of the amendments provides for a number of changes to the Official Text of the Uniform Commercial Code:

Article 1

  • The term “holder” is to include a person who has submitted a negotiable or transferable record to the repository system that converts to an electronic mortgage note (EMN).

Article 3

  • The term “negotiable instrument” includes an EMN.
  • A transfer of an EMN in the records of the repository system is a “negotiation” and “indorsement”.  An indorsement other than a general one needs to be evidenced by the records of the repository operator.
  • The registrant in the repository system is the person entitled to enforce the instrument.
  • A record of discharge in the repository system is a notice is discharge for holder in due course status.
  • If the legacy submission to the repository system was not a negotiable instrument or transferrable record, there can be no holder in due course of the EMN.
  • A record of an EMN certified by the repository system showing the plaintiff as the registrant evidences the plaintiff’s right to enforce the EMN.
  • An instrument converted to an EMN and later destroyed under the system rules is not a lost or destroyed note for purposes of 3-309 and does not discharge the obligor.
  • No presentment or notice of dishonor is required for the EMN.

Article 8

  • An EMN is not a security but may be a financial asset if held in a securities account.

Article 9

  • An EMN is located in DC for purposes of the Article 9 choice-of-law rules.
  • New 9-313A gives a secured party who is a “registrant” or an “authorized  transferor” of an EMN (with the registrant waiving the right to transfer the EMN)  “possession” of the EMN  for purposes of Article 9 with the same priority as possession of a paper negotiable instrument.

The meeting was attended by a number of observers including representatives from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York who are drafting the federal statute.  We had a good discussion on a number of issues and expect to have revised drafts of the federal statute and the amendments available for an initial reading of the amendments at the Annual Meeting this summer in San Diego, California.

Edwin E. Smith
Chair, Committee to Amend Uniform Commercial Code Articles 1, 3 and 9


Update from the Drafting Committee to Amend UCC Articles 1, 3, and 9 in connection with a registry for electronic mortgage notes

Update from the Drafting Committee to Revise the Uniform Parentage Act

The Uniform Parentage Act (UPA) Drafting Committee has been hard at work since the last annual meeting on revising the UPA to integrate same-sex couples into the act; to update the act’s surrogacy provisions; and to provide children of assisted reproduction with a right to information about their genetic heritage.  Since the annual meeting, the ULC Executive Committee has expanded our committee’s scope to revise the act (rather than merely amending it) and to include the concept of “de facto” parentage in the act.

Our committee was structured to include current or former legislators from Washington, Idaho, Nevada, Minnesota, and Colorado and significant political diversity.  We have also benefited from a large and engaged group of observers.  We agreed early on that our objective should be to create an act that can be widely adopted.  We held in-person meetings in Minneapolis on October 28-29, 2016, and in Seattle on March 10-11, 2017, to read and review proposed changes to the entire act.  In addition, we held six telephone meetings focused on several thorny issues in the act as follows:

  • September 14: in light of concerns at the annual meeting about including “de facto” parents in the Non-Parental Child Custody and Visitation Act, we discussed taking the approach of many states to treat people who meet listed criteria to be established as full legal parents.
  • November 16: we discussed the appropriate distinctions between gestational and genetic surrogacy.
  • December 20: after consultation with federal child support enforcement authorities, we broadened the current acknowledgement of paternity process to provide a streamlined means for some same-sex couples to establish parentage through an acknowledgement.
  • January 23: we worked on specific language for “de facto” parentage concept and agreed that the act should provide alternatives for states either to limit the maximum number of legal parents to two or to establish more than two parents in extraordinary circumstances.
  • February 7: we discussed the effect of noncompliant surrogacy agreements and whether gestational and genetic surrogacy agreements should be treated differently.
  • March 29: we re-read language regarding genetic testing, the adjudication process, and assisted reproduction that had been the subject of substantial revisions at our in-person meeting earlier in the month.

We are hopeful that the act will be ready for its final reading this summer in San Diego and look forward to your comments and questions!

Jamie Pedersen
Chair, Drafting Committee to Revise the Uniform Parentage Act

Update from the Drafting Committee to Revise the Uniform Parentage Act

Update from the Model Veterans Court Act

The Model Veterans Court Act Drafting Committee held its fourth and final meeting in Chicago on March 3-4, 2017. The agenda was to review in detail the policy decisions made in earlier meetings and to refine the draft for the final reading at the Annual Meeting in San Diego, CA in July, 2017. Several stylistic and re-ordering changes of the act were made, but no substantive changes were made. We had several observers from groups that work to train individuals or work to promote veterans courts in our country. Near the end of the meeting, all observers indicated full support for our act.  One change made at our last meeting was to have the act presented in a form for both enactment by legislation or by court rule.

This has been a remarkable drafting committee and has been unanimous in its support for veterans courts and the effort to draft the very best act possible. Our observers were of immense help in having the draft reflect the best thinking and practices of these courts. We await the Executive Committee’s decision to rename the act as the Model Veterans Treatment Court Act.

Harry L Tindall, Chair, Model Veterans Court Act Drafting Committee

Update from the Model Veterans Court Act

Model Veterans’ Court Act Drafting Committee Update

The Model Veterans’ Court Act Drafting Committee met for a third time on October 14th and 15th, 2016, in Washington, DC.  The drafting committee focused on addressing concerns that were raised this past summer at the ULC Annual Meeting in Stowe, Vermont.  Two of the biggest issues that the drafting committee is currently working through are who is eligible to be admitted into a veterans’ treatment court and prosecutorial discretion of individuals admitted into a veterans’ treatment court.  The drafting committee made further progress in drafting language that will properly balance how these issues are treated.  The act itself will not create a veterans’ treatment court, but rather enables local jurisdictions to create a veterans’ treatment court docket.  The drafting committee will seek the permission of the Uniform Law Commission Executive Committee to have the name of the model act revised to be named the “Model Veterans’ Treatment Court Act” to further reflect the act’s focus on the treatment court model, similar to drug treatment courts. The drafting committee continues to work with stakeholders in the domestic violence community to refine the drafted language in order to appropriately address crimes of domestic violence.

The meeting was attended by Justice for Vets and the National Center for State Courts whom have been instrumental in helping the drafting committee craft the model act.  The drafting committee expects to meet again this coming spring before the model act undergoes a final reading at the Annual Meeting this summer in San Diego, California.  In the interim, the drafting committee plans to hold one or more conference calls in order to fine-tune the act language.  Drafting committee members are working cohesively in making important policy decisions in the draft act and the draft is rounding into good shape as it wraps up its final year of drafting.

Harry L. Tindall, Chair, Model Veterans’ Court Act

Model Veterans’ Court Act Drafting Committee Update

Another way to stay involved

Are you interested in following the work of a Committee even though you can’t commit to Committee service?  Commissioners may be added to the roster for any committee to receive notice of any conference calls and meetings and to receive drafts and memos that are under the committee’s consideration.  While you won’t have a vote (and unfortunately, we won’t be able to reimburse you if you travel to any meetings), your input may be really helpful.  This also is a great way for Commissioners who don’t have the time to volunteer for full committee service to participate in areas in which they have particular expertise.  A list of current committees can be found on the ULC website at www.uniformlaws.org.  Please contact the Chicago office if you’d like to be added to the roster of any current committee.


Richard T. Cassidy, ULC President

Another way to stay involved

Update from the Family Law Arbitration Drafting Committee

The Family Law Arbitration Act Drafting Committee had a productive meeting in Chicago in March 2016 and a follow-up conference call in early April.  The Act, which will be up for a final reading at the 2016 Annual Meeting, has undergone significant changes in the past year.  As currently drafted, the Act  tracks the Revised Uniform Arbitration Act (RUAA) in many respects but diverges from the RUAA in key areas that distinguish family law arbitration from commercial arbitration.  These include standards for arbitration of child custody and child support, protections for victims of family violence, provisions for temporary awards, and provisions relating to post-decree modifications.

In response to concerns expressed by various commissioners and outside groups, the Committee strengthened the role of the courts in cases involving children and in disputes in which domestic violence is present.  In particular, in order to confirm an arbitration award determining child custody or child support, the act now requires that a court find that the award complies with applicable law and furthers the best interests of the child.  A verbatim record must be created for any part of an arbitration hearing addressing child-related issues, and the arbitrator is required to provide a statement of reasons for the award.  In addition, a bracketed provision is now in the act authorizing discretionary de novo review of awards determining child-related disputes.  Further, if domestic violence is evident between the parties in a dispute that is subject to arbitration, a court must decide whether arbitration may proceed.  Finally, a mechanism for excluding child-related issues from arbitration altogether is available under the act.

The Drafting Committee has also addressed the question of preemption under the Federal Arbitration Act by adopting the language of the FAA and the RUAA regarding the validity of arbitration agreements.  In particular, the Act no longer prohibits pre-dispute agreements except for agreements concerning child-related issues.  As under the FAA and the RUAA, ordinary contract defenses (lack of voluntariness, fraud, duress, etc) remain available to challenge the validity of an arbitration agreement at the time of enforcement.

Other changes include unique provisions for arbitrator qualifications and arbitrator powers.  In the family law world, parties often prefer that a seasoned family law practitioner or retired family court judge serve as arbitrator.  For certain issues, however, parties might seek out a business valuation specialist as arbitrator.  The act provides flexibility in this regard and gives parties the right to waive certain general requirements by agreement.  Also, the act recognizes arbitrator powers particularly relevant to the family law realm, such as the power to appoint a representative for a child.

After three years of drafting, the Committee remains enthusiastic about the project.  We believe the act will provide needed guidance across the United States for this growing form of dispute resolution.

Barbara A. Atwood, Chair, Drafting Committee on Family Law Arbitration Act


Update from the Family Law Arbitration Drafting Committee