Lawmakers in South Florida are trying to change Florida’s time-sharing laws to protect children who may be at risk of parental harm. Legislators named the bill “Greyson’s law” after a young child who died in a murder-suicide in 2021.
How will the law affect time-sharing if it passes?
Effects of the proposed legislation
If passed, the new law will require courts to consider additional conduct regarding domestic violence when ordering a parenting plan. The legislation would authorize judges to consider factors, such as whether either parent believes they or the child is in immediate danger from the other parent, that are not specifically mentioned in current Florida law.
How the proposed law differs from current law
Current Florida law allows courts to award time sharing to both parents if neither parent has a history of threatening or abusing the child, even if that parent has a history of abusing or threatening the other parent. The new law would require judges to consider any history of abusive behavior towards the other parent, whether or not the parent directly abused or threatened the child.
The measure previously failed in the Florida legislature. The current version omits much of the specific language of the previous version, instead leaving it up to the judge’s discretion to decide which specific factors to consider in individual cases.
Annually, parents kill about 450 children in the United States. Advocates for the bill hope that the legislation will empower judges to protect at-risk children from parents who have a history of abusive behavior.