‘Greyson’s Law’ Helps To Protect Children From Domestic Violence In Florida
For parents experiencing domestic violence in Fort Lauderdale, one of the biggest concerns is the safety of their children. Unfortunately, state child time-sharing guidelines can end up putting them in harm’s way. The tragic case of a four-year-old Broward County boy killed by his father is raising awareness of the risks and could result in sweeping changes to family court policies throughout the state.
Bill Protecting Children From Domestic Violence Moves To Senate Floor
In 2021, Broward County resident Ali Kessler filed a Petition for An Injunction Against Domestic Violence, otherwise known as a restraining order, against her former partner and the father of her child. It alleged stalking, threatening messages, and other forms of harassment. She also filed an emergency pick-up order for her four-year-old son Greyson, who was staying with the father under the terms of a child time-sharing order.
Unfortunately, despite providing mountains of evidence, her request was denied. Days later, her son was dead. He was killed by his father, who then took his own life. Since then, she has tirelessly advocated for others facing similar situations, gaining the support of politicians throughout the state along the way. The result is Senate Bill 130, otherwise known as Greyson’s Law. It expands on current domestic violence protections, allowing the court to consider the following:
- Verbal threats of violence;
- Stalking and other forms of harassment;
- Intimidation tactics, such as threatening to keep the victim’s child from them.
How Greyson’s Law Could Influence Domestic Violence Cases And Child Time-Sharing
Under the Florida Statutes, domestic violence is considered any type of violent act, stalking, or other harassment that causes the victim to fear for their safety. However, it does not expressly include verbal assault or certain types of threats. While victims in these cases may be able to obtain a restraining order, it may not have much impact on child time-sharing arrangements.
In general, the Florida Family Court encourages child time-sharing. Factors that influence a parent’s rights include:
- Their current and prior relationship with the child;
- Their proven ability to provide for the child’s needs;
- The ability to cooperate in implementing a parenting plan;
- Any accusations of domestic violence or child abuse.
Once an order is in place, it is difficult to change. This is especially true in domestic violence cases, where the abuser has made primarily verbal threats. If Greyson’s Law is approved, as most politicians seem sure it will be, it would allow judges to consider these threats both prior to approving child time-sharing arrangements and in issuing emergency pick-up orders. While Greyson’s mother says it is too late for her son, she hopes it will help save other young lives.
Reach Out To Our Experienced Fort Lauderdale Domestic Violence Lawyer
As an experienced Fort Lauderdale domestic violence lawyer, Vanessa L. Prieto fights to protect the rights of abuse victims and their children. To discuss how we can help in your particular case, call or contact our office online and request a confidential consultation.