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“Greyson’s Law” Moves Closer To Becoming Law
In February 2023, the Florida House of Representatives took an important step to help a potentially life-saving measure become law. Its Civil Justice subcommittee passed “Greyson’s Law” unanimously, setting the bill up for a date to be read out to the entire House floor, with a companion bill set to follow the same trajectory in the Senate. The bill, if passed, would lengthen the list of factors a court would have to consider in making time-sharing arrangements between parents.
‘Rebuttable Presumption Of Detriment To The Child’
As written, Florida law lists several factors that are to be weighed when working out a parenting time determination, including the child’s own preference, each parent’s income and work schedule, and the feasibility of traveling between the two residences. In general, Florida law will generally be written in favor of perpetuating a relationship between a child and both of their parents, unless a parent has been convicted of a “misdemeanor or higher involving domestic violence” or another similar offense.
This measure was named for a young man killed by his father in a 2021 murder-suicide. At the time of the crime, the father was going through a divorce and had allegedly made threats toward his wife – but, crucially, not toward his son. Because of this, a family court granted the father parenting time, reasoning that no abuse had befallen the boy. This unfortunately turned tragic in 2021, and has helped to raise an important point about the reach of state law – namely, that threats toward anyone should create evidence of danger to all.
While Florida does not specifically define crimes against children as domestic violence, it does define crimes against a spouse, ex-spouse, or unmarried co-parent as falling under the domestic violence umbrella, and it was behavior of this nature that led to the murder-suicide. Greyson’s Law would require a family court judge to consider any behavior that might qualify as domestic violence when determining parenting time – it may potentially save lives.
In addition to parenting time, the new law would require these additional factors to be considered during injunction hearings. In order to receive a domestic violence injunction (DVI), a petitioner must show that they have been the victim of domestic violence or have a reasonable fear of becoming one – but sometimes, it may not be possible to quantitatively show that someone is in imminent danger. The mother of the deceased young man attempted to obtain an injunction, but was unsuccessful – and lost her son as a direct result.
Call A West Palm Beach Domestic Violence Attorney
While Greyson’s Law still has a long road to travel before becoming law, it appears to have the support of the legislature so far. In the meantime, if you fear that you or your child may become the victim of domestic violence, contacting a West Palm Beach criminal attorney from Perlet & Shiner, P.A. can help to ensure you are protected. Call our office today to speak to an attorney.