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What is Greyson’s Law? The new Domestic Violence Law in Florida.

gavel, the symbol of judicial authority

On July 1, 2023, the state of Florida enacted over two hundred bills. One of them was Greyson’s Law. Even though it did not receive that much attention from the media, it is a pivotal and essential new legislation regarding Domestic Violence. In today’s blog we will be explaining what it consists the new Domestic Violence Law, the Greyson´s Law.

What is Greyson’s Law?

In 2021, Greyson Kessler, a four-year-old boy, was murdered by his abusive father. His mother tried incessantly to gain sole custody of her son, after being the victim of domestic violence in the hands of the father of her son, but the current laws of the state of Florida did not allow her request.

The new legislation addresses the need for clear and comprehensive evidence when it comes to domestic violence cases related to child custody determinations and domestic violence injunction proceedings. By refining the descriptions of what constitutes evidence or risks of domestic violence, the law aims to provide a more nuanced understanding of the complexities surrounding these cases. This, in turn, ensures a fairer assessment of the situation and better protection for victims and children involved.

One of the key aspects of the bill focuses on shared parental responsibility and the factors courts must consider when determining whether it would be detrimental to a child. The legislation expands the list of factors to include evidence of domestic violence. This crucial inclusion acknowledges the significance of previous or ongoing domestic violence situations in the decision-making process, ensuring the child's safety remains a paramount consideration.

Additionally, the bill mandates that courts take into account whether a parent has reasonable cause to believe that they or their child are in imminent danger of becoming victims of domestic violence or sexual violence, even if no legal action has been brought or is currently pending. This provision recognizes the importance of addressing potential threats and creating a safe environment for all family members involved.

Moreover, the legislation highlights the need to consider any reasonable cause to believe that the shared child has been or is at risk of abuse, abandonment, or neglect by the other parent. This factor emphasizes the significance of protecting the child's welfare and ensures that decisions regarding parenting and time-sharing prioritize their safety and well-being.

When establishing or modifying parental responsibility or time-sharing schedules, the bill expands the factors that courts must consider including evidence that a parent has or had reasonable cause to believe that they or their child are in imminent danger of becoming victims of domestic violence. This expansion reinforces the notion that the best interest of the child should always be at the forefront of decision-making processes, particularly when their safety is at stake.

The new legislation brings significant changes to domestic violence injunction proceedings. Courts are now required to consider additional factors when determining whether to issue a domestic violence injunction. Specifically, they must assess whether the respondent named in the petition has engaged in a pattern of abusive or threatening behaviors that demonstrate a continuing purpose and reasonably cause the petitioner to believe that they or their shared child are in imminent danger of becoming victims of domestic violence. This expansion recognizes the importance of patterns of behavior in assessing potential threats and ensuring swift and appropriate intervention.

The bill also allows petitioners to select a new basis for a domestic violence injunction on the statutory petition form. This basis involves the respondent engaging in a pattern of abusive, threatening, intimidating, or controlling behavior, even if such behavior occurred over a short period of time. By broadening the grounds for issuing an injunction, the legislation acknowledges the various manifestations of domestic violence and empowers victims to seek legal protection.

Florida's commitment to creating a safer environment for families affected by domestic violence is evident in the comprehensive measures taken to address these complex issues. By establishing clearer criteria for evidence and risks, expanding factors considered in parental responsibility determinations, and empowering domestic violence injunctions, the state strives to create a framework that ensures justice, protection, and a brighter future for families across the Sunshine State. And to avoid that no other child suffers the same fate as Greyson.

If you are a victim of domestic violence you can call the Domestic Violence hotline at 800.799.SAFE (7233). If you need legal help, give us a call. The first consultation is FREE. At Y. Morejon Attorney, P.A. your problem is our problem.

Legal Disclaimer Any information made available by the lawyer or law firm is for educational purposes only, as well as to give you general information and general understanding of the law, NOT to provide specific advice. This does NOT create a relationship attorney-client between you and Y. Morejon Attorney, P.A. This information should NOT be use as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.

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