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Florida Courts Must Consider Threats of Violence Towards Former Partners When Making Custody Decisions


When a divorcing or unmarried couple is unable to come up with a time-sharing arrangement, a family law judge must often step in and implement a parenting plan on the parties’ behalf. These situations can be complex, especially in cases where one of the parents is accused of engaging in threatening behavior towards their former partner, as judges must try to determine whether the parent is being truthful or attempting to bar the other party’s visitation rights out of retaliation. In prior years, courts had the option of determining whether such a claim had merit or was false, but last summer, with the passage of “Greyson’s Law”, judges now must abide by a stricter framework when making custody decisions amidst allegations of domestic violence.

What is Greyson’s Law? 

Before last summer, Florida judges were not required to take a parent’s history of domestic violence towards a former partner into consideration when coming up with a time-sharing arrangement. While many judges did take that information into account, others did not, resulting in the creation of some parenting plans that were dangerous for the children involved. Greyson Kessler was one such child, who was killed at the hands of his father in 2021. Prior to his untimely death, the child’s mother had sought to limit the father’s access to her son based on concerns over the father’s disturbing behavior and threats of violence. However, because the child’s father hadn’t been convicted of domestic violence and there was no evidence of a specific threat to Greyson, a judge decided to maintain the father’s time-sharing rights. Greyson’s Law was passed in an effort to shift the balance between respecting visitation rights and protecting a child’s safety in custody proceedings where there is a credible claim of violence not just to a child, but to the child’s other parent.

Courts Must Now Consider Additional Factors 

As a result of the passage of Greyson’s Law, courts must now weigh several additional factors when making custody determinations, including claims by a parent that they or their child is in imminent danger because the child’s other parent is engaging in threatening or intimidating behavior. Judges must consider all evidence of domestic violence, even if the parent being accused was never convicted. Any evidence of abuse towards the other parent can be taken into consideration when determining child custody arrangements, even if that child was never specifically threatened.

Available for Evening and Weekend Appointments 

Custody proceedings can be emotionally fraught, especially when there are claims of domestic violence. For help protecting the best interests of your child or for assistance refuting a false claim by a former partner, please reach out to the dedicated and compassionate Largo domestic violence lawyers at Cairns Law today. We know how stressful these situations can be and will put all of our experience and resources to use in helping you come up with a parenting plan that suits your family’s needs. A member of our legal team is standing by and prepared to get started on your case right away.




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