CHAPTER 801
PROBATE COURT: ADMINISTRATIVE PROVISIONS

Table of Contents

Sec. 45a-8a. Regional children's probate courts.
Sec. 45a-56. (Formerly Sec. 45-29y). Hospitalization and medical and surgical insurance and dental insurance plan. Eligibility. Payment of premium. Election to participate in dental insurance plan.
Sec. 45a-82. (Formerly Sec. 45-4h). Probate Court Administration Fund. Transfers to retirement fund and General Fund. Annual accounting. Transfer to court of probate for financial assistance. Regulations.

PART I
PROBATE COURTS IN GENERAL

      Sec. 45a-8a. Regional children's probate courts. (a) For the purposes of this section, "children's matters" means: (1) Guardianship matters under sections 45a-603 to 45a-625, inclusive; (2) termination of parental rights matters under sections 45a-706 to 45a-719, inclusive; (3) adoption matters under sections 45a-724 to 45a-733, inclusive, 45a-736 and 45a-737; (4) claims for paternity under section 46b-172a; (5) emancipation matters under sections 46b-150 to 46b-150e, inclusive; and (6) voluntary admission matters under section 17a-11.

      (b) The Probate Court Administrator shall, within available resources, establish a regional children's probate court in a region that shall consist of the probate districts of New Haven, Branford, East Haven, Hamden, Milford, North Branford, North Haven, Orange, West Haven and Woodbridge. In establishing such court, the Probate Court Administrator shall consult with the probate judges of such districts, each of whom may participate on a voluntary basis.

      (c) In addition to the court established under subsection (b) of this section, the Probate Court Administrator may establish six additional regional children's probate courts in regions designated by the Probate Court Administrator. In establishing such courts, the Probate Court Administrator shall consult with the probate judges of the districts located in each designated region, each of whom may participate on a voluntary basis.

      (d) The Probate Court Administrator may establish a regional children's probate court under this section in (1) any existing probate court facility within a district located in a region, or (2) a separate facility located in a region as may be designated by the Probate Court Administrator. Each regional children's probate court shall be established and operated with the advice of the participating probate judges of such districts and the administrative judge appointed under subsection (g) of this section. Such participating probate judges and administrative judge shall serve as the judges of the regional children's probate court, except as provided in subdivision (1) of subsection (g) of this section. Such judges shall hear and determine all children's matters as may come before them on a docket separate from other probate matters.

      (e) (1) For the purposes of this section, the Probate Court Administrator may, subject to the provisions of section 45a-84, expend from the Probate Court Administration Fund established under section 45a-82 such amounts as the Probate Court Administrator may deem reasonable and necessary for the establishment, improvement, maintenance and operations of court facilities located in each such designated region.

      (2) Nothing in this section shall be construed to relieve any town of its obligation to provide and maintain court facilities pursuant to section 45a-8.

      (f) The Probate Court Administrator may, subject to the provisions of section 45a-84, expend moneys from the Probate Court Administration Fund to pay for necessary improvements of a facility designated as a regional children's probate court under this section, to pay operating expenses of a regional children's probate court and to reimburse participating towns or cities for any costs of leasing office space for a regional children's probate court, and any necessary improvements thereto, and for expenses under subsection (g) of this section.

      (g) (1) The Probate Court Administrator, with the advice of the participating probate judges of the districts located in the designated region, shall appoint an administrative judge for each regional children's probate court. The administrative judge shall be a probate judge at the time of such appointment. If the administrative judge ceases to serve as a probate judge after such appointment, the administrative judge may continue to serve as administrative judge at the pleasure of the Probate Court Administrator, but shall not have the powers granted to an elected probate judge and shall not hear and determine children's matters before such regional children's probate court. Subject to the approval of the Chief Court Administrator, the Probate Court Administrator shall fix the compensation of the administrative judge and such compensation shall be paid from the Probate Court Administration Fund. Such compensation, together with the administrative judge's compensation as a probate judge of the district to which he or she was elected, shall not exceed the compensation provided under subsection (k) of section 45a-92. The administrative judge shall have such benefits as may inure to him or her as a probate judge and shall receive no additional benefits, except for compensation provided under this section.

      (2) Each administrative judge shall be responsible for the management of cases, coordination of social services, staff, financial management and record keeping for the regional children's probate court for which the administrative judge is appointed. The administrative judge may, with the approval of the Probate Court Administrator, purchase furniture, office supplies, computers and other equipment and contract for services that the administrative judge may deem necessary or advisable for the expeditious conduct of the business of the regional children's probate court. Such expenses shall be paid for pursuant to section 45a-8. If a separate facility for a regional children's probate court is established pursuant to subdivision (2) of subsection (d) of this section, the participating town or city shall be reimbursed for such expenses from the Probate Court Administration Fund upon presentation of vouchers to the Probate Court Administrator.

      (h) Each administrative judge for a regional children's probate court may, with the approval of the Probate Court Administrator, employ such persons as may be required for the efficient operation of the regional children's probate court. Such employees shall be employees of the regional children's probate court and shall be entitled to the benefits of probate court employees under this chapter. Such employees shall not be deemed to be state employees.

      (i) Any probate court within a region designated under subsection (b) or (c) of this section may transfer children's matters to the regional children's probate court for such region. Any regional children's probate court may accept transfers and referrals of children's matters from probate courts within its region.

      (j) Each regional children's probate court shall be considered a probate court for the purposes of this chapter.

      (k) The Probate Court Administrator shall establish policies and procedures to implement the provisions of this section. On or before January 3, 2007, the Probate Court Administrator shall submit a report concerning the operation and effectiveness of the regional children's probate courts established under this section to the joint standing committee of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to the judiciary, in accordance with section 11-4a.

      (P.A. 04-159, S. 1; P.A. 05-225, S. 1.)

      History: P.A. 04-159 effective June 1, 2004; P.A. 05-225 made technical changes in Subsec. (a), amended Subsec. (b) by deleting provisions re pilot program in a single region and making conforming changes, added new Subsec. (c) re establishment of six additional regional courts, redesignated portion of Subsec. (b) as new Subsec. (d) and amended same by deleting provision re designated region and making conforming changes, added new Subsec. (e) re expenditures for establishment, improvement, maintenance and operations of regional court facilities, redesignated existing Subsecs. (c) to (h) as new Subsecs. (f) to (k) and made conforming and technical changes therein, amended Subsec. (i) by deleting provisions prohibiting transfer of new children's matters on or after July 1, 2007, and amended Subsec. (k) by deleting provisions re pilot program.

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PART III
RETIREMENT BENEFITS

      Sec. 45a-56. (Formerly Sec. 45-29y). Hospitalization and medical and surgical insurance and dental insurance plan. Eligibility. Payment of premium. Election to participate in dental insurance plan. (a) Notwithstanding the provisions of section 5-259, the Comptroller, with the approval of the Attorney General and the Insurance Commissioner, shall arrange and procure a group hospitalization and medical and surgical insurance and dental insurance plan for the probate judges and employees retirement system with coverage equal to that available under section 5-259, or otherwise available, to retired state employees and their spouses and surviving spouses.

      (b) Any member of the probate judges and employees retirement system who is retired and receiving benefits from such system, and the spouse of any such member, and upon the death of any such member, such member's surviving spouse, while receiving benefits from such system, may elect to participate in the group insurance plan procured by the Comptroller under subsection (a) of this section.

      (c) The premium charged for any such member and spouse or surviving spouse who elects to participate in the group hospitalization and medical and surgical portion of such coverage shall be paid from the retirement fund established pursuant to section 45a-35. Twenty per cent of the premium charged for any such member and spouse or surviving spouse who elects to participate in the group dental portion of such coverage shall be paid from said retirement fund, and the remainder of the premium for such coverage shall be paid by the participant.

      (d) Any such member and spouse or surviving spouse who is a participant in the group insurance plan in effect prior to October 1, 1994, may elect to participate in the plan set forth in subsection (a) of this section at the premiums set forth in subsection (c) of this section, provided such election is made within sixty days of October 1, 1994.

      (P.A. 88-155, S. 7; P.A. 94-98, S. 8; P.A. 05-288, S. 148, 149.)

      History: Sec. 45-29y transferred to Sec. 45a-56 in 1991; P.A. 94-98 amended Subsec. (a) to require comptroller to procure dental insurance plan for probate judges and employees retirement system, amended Subsec. (c) by eliminating provision re payment of fifty per cent of premium for group hospitalization and medical and surgical insurance and requiring payment of twenty per cent of premium charged for dental insurance from the retirement fund, and added Subsec. (d) re participation in dental insurance plan, requiring election to participate within sixty days of October 1, 1994; P.A. 05-288 made technical changes in Subsecs. (b) and (d), effective July 13, 2005.

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PART V
PROBATE COURT ADMINISTRATOR

      Sec. 45a-82. (Formerly Sec. 45-4h). Probate Court Administration Fund. Transfers to retirement fund and General Fund. Annual accounting. Transfer to court of probate for financial assistance. Regulations. (a) The Probate Court Administration Fund is established, to consist of the amounts hereinafter provided, to be paid over as herein provided to the State Treasurer.

      (b) The State Treasurer shall be the custodian of the fund, with power to administer it, and to invest and reinvest as much of said fund as is not required for current disbursements in accordance with the provisions of the general statutes regarding the investment of savings banks.

      (c) All payments from said fund authorized by sections 5-259, 17a-77, 17a-274, 17a-498, 17a-510, 19a-131b, 19a-131e, 19a-221, 45a-1 to 45a-12, inclusive, 45a-18 to 45a-26, inclusive, 45a-34 to 45a-56, inclusive, 45a-62 to 45a-68, inclusive, 45a-74 to 45a-83, inclusive, 45a-90 to 45a-94, inclusive, 45a-98, 45a-99, 45a-105, 45a-119 to 45a-123, inclusive, 45a-128, 45a-130, 45a-131, 45a-133, 45a-152, 45a-175 to 45a-180, inclusive, 45a-199 and 45a-202, shall be made upon vouchers approved by the Probate Court Administrator.

      (d) Monthly there shall be transferred from the fund established by this section to the retirement fund established by section 45a-35 not less than sufficient moneys, taking into account receipts by said retirement fund under the provisions of sections 45a-44 and 45a-45, to enable said retirement fund to meet its obligations as estimated by the Retirement Commission, until the Retirement Commission certifies that the retirement fund is on a sound actuarial basis.

      (e) On or before July first annually, the Retirement Commission shall certify to the State Treasurer, on the basis of an actuarial determination, the amount to be transferred to the retirement fund to maintain the actuarial funding program adopted by the Retirement Commission.

      (f) In addition to the aforesaid payments, there shall be transferred from time to time from the fund established by this section to the retirement fund established by section 45a-35 such amounts as are determined by the Probate Court Administrator not to be required for other purposes of sections 45a-20 and 45a-76 to 45a-83, inclusive, until the Retirement Commission certifies that the retirement fund is on a sound actuarial basis. Thereafter there shall be transferred from time to time from the fund established by this section to the General Fund such amounts as are determined by the Probate Court Administrator not to be required for the purposes of said sections.

      (g) If at any time thereafter the Retirement Commission certifies that the retirement fund established by section 45a-35 is no longer on a sound actuarial basis, transfers from this fund to the retirement fund shall be resumed until the Retirement Commission again certifies that said retirement fund is on a sound actuarial basis, at which time transfers from this fund to the General Fund shall be resumed.

      (h) All payments of assessments imposed by section 45a-92 with respect to income received by any judge of probate on or after January 1, 1968, shall be paid in accordance with the schedule set forth in section 45a-92.

      (i) The State Treasurer shall, on or before October first, annually, give an accounting of the Probate Court Administration Fund, showing the receipts and disbursements and the balance or condition thereof, as of the preceding June thirtieth, to the Connecticut Probate Assembly and to the joint standing committee of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to the judiciary.

      (j) In the event that any court of probate otherwise receives income which is insufficient to meet, on an ongoing basis, the reasonable and necessary financial needs of that court, including the salaries of the judge and the judge's staff, there shall be transferred from time to time from the Probate Court Administration Fund such amounts as are determined by the Probate Court Administrator to be reasonable and necessary for the proper administration of each such court. Except as provided in subsection (k) of section 45a-92, the judge's annual salary shall not exceed the average annual salary of such judge for the three-year period next preceding the request for financial assistance or the product resulting from the multiplication of fifteen dollars by the annual weighted-workload of the court, as defined in subsection (c) of section 45a-92, whichever is greater, but not to exceed the annual compensation provided in subsection (k) of section 45a-92.

      (k) Each judge of probate requesting financial assistance at any time during any calendar year shall file with the Probate Court Administrator a sworn statement showing the actual gross receipts and itemized expenses of the judge's court and the amount requested, together with an explanation therefor. The Probate Court Administrator may approve and issue an invoice to the State Comptroller pursuant to subsection (c) of this section, authorizing payment to the court of probate in such amounts as shall have been approved by the Probate Court Administrator.

      (l) The Probate Court Administrator may issue regulations pursuant to subdivision (1) of subsection (b) of section 45a-77 in order to carry out the intent of subsections (j) and (k) of this section.

      (1967, P.A. 558, S. 20; 1972, P.A. 244, S. 1; P.A. 73-301, S. 1, 2; P.A. 80-476, S. 34; P.A. 87-333, S. 2; P.A. 89-326, S. 1, 7; P.A. 92-118, S. 2; P.A. 93-232, S. 2; P.A. 96-110, S. 2, 4; 96-170, S. 1, 23; P.A. 97-90, S. 5, 6; P.A. 01-127, S. 3; P.A. 03-236, S. 14; P.A. 04-257, S. 69; P.A. 05-288, S. 150.)

      History: 1972 act deleted obsolete provisions re transfer of moneys of probate assembly to state treasurer and of moneys to retirement fund sufficient to meet obligations for three months and added provision re annual certification of amount to be transferred to retirement fund to maintain the actuarial funding program; P.A. 73-301 deleted reference to payments from fund authorized by Sec. 45-12a and reference to July 1, 1972, as date for initial annual certification of amount to be transferred to retirement fund and added provision re treasurer's annual accounting of fund status to probate assembly and judiciary committee; P.A. 80-476 divided section into Subsecs. and made minor changes in wording; P.A. 87-333 amended Subsec. (c) by deleting reference to "sections 45-4a to 45-4i, inclusive" and inserting reference to chapters 774 and 794 in lieu thereof; P.A. 89-326 amended Subsec. (c) to include payments authorized by Secs. 17-178, 17-192, 17-205d and 19a-448; Sec. 45-4h transferred to Sec. 45a-82 in 1991; P.A. 92-118 amended Subsec. (f) by changing "45a-21" to "45a-20"; P.A. 93-232 added reference to Sec. 45a-57; P.A. 96-110 amended Subsec. (c) by adding reference to Sec. 5-259 and changing reference to Sec. 45a-57 to 45a-56, effective January 1, 1997; P.A. 96-170 added Subsecs. (j), (k) and (l) re transfer of funds from private administration fund when income of court of probate insufficient to meet financial needs, requiring probate judge requesting financial assistance to file sworn statement re gross receipts and expenses of court and amount requested and allowing Probate Court Administrator to issue regulations re financial assistance to probate courts, effective July 1, 1998; P.A. 97-90 changed effective date of P.A. 96-170, S. 1 from July 1, 1998, to July 1, 1997; P.A. 01-127 amended Subsec. (j) by adding alternative method of computation of maximum salary by product of multiplication of fifteen dollars by annual weighted-workload of court, whichever is greater, but not to exceed annual compensation in Sec. 45a-92(k); P.A. 03-236 amended Subsec. (c) by adding references to Secs. 19a-131b and 19a-131e, effective July 9, 2003; P.A. 04-257 made technical changes in Subsec. (i), effective June 14, 2004; P.A. 05-288 made a technical change in Subsec. (c), effective July 13, 2005.

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