MidPoint: Big Changes to Florida Family Law

Attorney Josh Sheridan & General Magistrate Philip Wartenberg

Hillsborough County Family Court General Magistrate Philip Wartenberg and family law attorney Joshua Sheridan of Busciglio, Sheridan & Schoeb, joined MidPoint to discuss some of the big changes in Florida divorce and family law which emerged from the 2023 legislative session, including the long-anticipated, possible end to permanent alimony in Florida, a bill which has not yet been signed by the Governor, and a rebuttable presumption of 50/50 shared child custody in most cases which is also awaiting the Governor’s signature. Other changes not yet signed into law by the Governor include “The Unwed Fathers” bill which would provide unwed fathers who have established paternity to have automatic parental rights, including the possibility of being designated as the child’s natural guardian under Florida law. This change is significant because currently, the statutes declare only the biological mother as the child’s natural guardian.

An important change that IS now the law is “Grayson’s Law,” which liberalizes and expands the type of evidence of threats of harm that can be found by a court to support an injunction for protection from violence for children and families.  Verbal threats and other forms of non-physical abuse, like the use of tracking devices and surveillance, for example, are all now admissible evidence of possible abuse and threats of violence that may support an injunction for protection.

One of the new laws signed by the Governor is highly controversial — SB 254, now Chapter 2023-90 in law — allows a Florida court to invoke temporary emergency jurisdiction over a child in a child custody matter when exercising such jurisdiction is “necessary to protect a child” because that child has been “subjected to or threatened with being subjected to sex reassignment, prescriptions or procedures.” The law is vague as to the type of “procedures” that could cause the court to invoke jurisdiction and that would allow the state to take custody of a child and remove the child from home upon the complaint of one parent that the other parent is seeking gender-affirming care.

You can listen to the show in its entirety here, on the WMNF app, or as a WMNF MidPoint podcast wherever you get your podcasts.


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