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Bill would modify shared parental responsibility considerations

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'Protecting our children must always be at the top of our priority list as legislators'

Rep. Hillary Cassel

Rep. Hillary Cassel

Judges would have additional factors to consider when weighing shared parental responsibility under a renewed attempt to pass “Greyson’s Law.”

Rep. Hillary Cassel, D-Hollywood and a former prosecutor, filed HB 97 on December 3. It has yet to receive committee references.

A companion measure, SB 130, by Sen. Lori Berman, D-Boynton Beach, was filed January 4. It also awaits committee references.

The identical bills commemorate 4-year-old Greyson Kessler, a Broward County toddler who was killed by his father in a murder-suicide in May 2021.

They would require a court to consider additional factors when weighing shared parental responsibility, including evidence that a parent “has or has had reasonable cause to believe that he or she or his or her minor child is in imminent danger of becoming a victim of domestic violence.”

Greyson’s mother attempted to halt visitation when she received death threats from the boy’s father, but Florida law does not make “a nexus with the child” when threats are leveled against a co-parent, Berman said when she filed the bill last year. Greyson’s mother also discovered that the boy’s father had secretly placed an electronic tracking device on her car.

“Protecting our children must always be at the top of our priority list as legislators,” Berman said.

A companion measure, HB  781 by Rep. Michael Grieco, D-Miami Beach, died in the Civil Justice and Property Rights Subcommittee in March 2022. Berman’s companion that year, SB 1106, died in Senate Judiciary.

“Anyone who places a tracker on a co-parent’s vehicle or tells them that their ‘head should be separated from their body’ or that they ‘deserve to die’ should not only be enjoined from contact with the recipient of the stalking or threats, but their custodial rights should be immediately evaluated,” Greico, who is also an attorney, said when he filed the bill last year.

The 60-day regular legislative session convenes March 7.

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