Legislation sponsored by Sen. Ted Deutch (D-Boca Raton), crafted in tandem with a domestic abuse survivor whose children died at her husband’s hand, was signed into law by the governor on Wednesday.
“I am so proud to have sponsored this new law that will help ensure no child falls victim to the relationship of the parents,” said Sen. Deutch. “Evidence of domestic violence must be specifically considered in order to help protect the children.”
The legislation signed by the governor this week ensures judges make written findings in domestic and sexual violence cases, and child abuse cases when supervised visitation is recommended.
It was inspired by Lake Worth resident Jenny Carter, who divorced her husband after experiencing domestic abuse in her own marriage. In 2006, during a court-approved visitation around Christmas, her ex-husband set fire to their home, killing himself along with the couple’s 10-year old son, Nelson and 8-year old daughter, Crystal. Since then, Ms. Carter has dedicated herself to changing the existing laws governing parental visitation.
“I became my children’s voice,” Ms. Carter said, “so that other children and other families don’t suffer this tragic fate. This law provides the safety net my children didn’t have.”
Under the new law, judges will now have to broaden from third degree felony to first degree misdemeanor their scrutiny of domestic violence convictions when determining parental responsibility.
Currently, many felony domestic violence cases plead down to first degree misdemeanors, and a parent is frequently granted custody even if they have a history of domestic violence not involving the children.
Friday, June 26, 2009
Sen. Deutch's Bill To Protect Children In Cases of Domestic Abuse Signed Into Law
From the Senate Dems:
Posted by Professor Rex at 5:23 PM