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West Palm Beach Criminal Lawyer / Blog / Criminal Defense / “Greyson’s Law” Takes Effect In Florida

“Greyson’s Law” Takes Effect In Florida


In the middle of 2023, Florida’s governor signed “Greyson’s Law” into law, planning for it to take effect in July of that year. The law was named for a young child killed by his father in a 2021 murder-suicide, and its intent is to strengthen the law’s ability to protect children at risk of harm from their parents. While the average person thinks of a spouse as the quintessential domestic violence victim, too many forget that young children are victimized at comparable rates, whether physically or emotionally. It is hoped that Greyson’s Law helps to safeguard children – which can indirectly help adult victims gain strength as well.

Making It Harder For Children To Be Exposed To Violence

In the case where young Greyson lost his life, his mother had petitioned for a domestic violence injunction and for his father to lose parental rights after repeated violent incidents. The court, however, denied her petition, arguing that none of the father’s actions gave rise to a cause for a “reasonable fear of imminent harm,” which is required for the issuance of an injunction. The father was permitted contact with his son with no restrictions, which sadly led to both of them later losing their lives.

Usually, Florida grants joint parental responsibility (custody) unless it can be shown that doing so would be a ‘detriment to the child.’ A conviction for domestic violence for either parent establishes a ‘rebuttable presumption’ that parental responsibility for that parent would cause harm to the child. After his untimely passing, Greyson’s mother started the push to pass Greyson’s Law in order to help create more hurdles for a potentially violent parent to overcome before being granted access to their children.

Potential Positives & Negatives

The main changes made by Greyson’s Law are twofold. The law adds two more factors to the already-extensive list that a judge must consider when making a parental responsibility determination – namely, whether a parent has or had reason to believe that they or a minor child “is or has been in imminent danger of becoming a victim of domestic [or sexual] violence,” abuse, abandonment, or neglect by the other parent. It also establishes that evidence of “abusive, threatening, intimidating, or controlling behavior” may be grounds for a domestic violence injunction.

While of course, these provisions will help keep more children safe in potentially volatile situations, it is also true that they could potentially lead to unjust verdicts, particularly in divorce court. The burden of proof has been significantly lowered in terms of whether or not someone is a fit parent, and unless all parties in this type of case are granted the chance to tell their side of the story, it is not inevitable that people’s parental rights might be jeopardized unjustly.

Contact A West Palm Beach Domestic Violence Attorney

If you have been charged with a crime of domestic violence, it is crucial to ensure that you know your rights, particularly with regard to your rights to see your children. A West Palm Beach criminal defense attorney from Perlet & Shiner, P.A. can help guide you through the criminal process so that you can focus your energies on protecting your parental rights. Call our office today to speak to an attorney.



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