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Bill to bring more standardization to divorce proceedings is on the House floor

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Sen. Erin Grall

Sen. Erin Grall

A Family Law Section priority measure designed to make divorce proceedings more uniform is headed to the Senate floor.

The Senate Rules Committee voted 20-0 on Thursday to approve SB 534 by Republican Sen. Erin Grall, a Vero Beach attorney.

“Senate Bill 534 recognizes the complexities surrounding divorce proceedings and addresses some conflicting case law regarding the distribution of assets and liabilities between parties,” Grall told the panel in a rapid-fire presentation.

The Rules Committee was scheduled to hear more than 25 bills in less than two hours. No committee members asked questions about the bill and Grall’s presentation lasted less than three minutes.

Among other things, the bill would require that a gift of real property between spouses be made in writing, and it would create guidelines for courts to consider when determining the value of a “closely held business” between the parties.

Another provision would define the concept of “extraordinary circumstances” that the courts could consider when weighing whether to grant an interim partial distribution of assets during a dissolution action.

Veteran Tallahassee marital and family law attorney Shannon L. Novey was in the committee room to signal the Family Law Section’s support.

SB 534 cleared Judiciary 10-0 on January 16, and the Children, Families and Elder Affairs Committee unanimously a week later.

A companion, HB 521 by Republican Rep. Traci Koster, a Tampa marital and family law attorney, is on second reading on the House calendar after clearing three committees without a negative vote.


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