Florida Senate - 2015                        COMMITTEE AMENDMENT
       Bill No. SB 368
                              LEGISLATIVE ACTION                        
                    Senate             .             House              
                  Comm: RCS            .                                
                  04/08/2015           .                                

       Appropriations Subcommittee on Criminal and Civil Justice (Soto)
       recommended the following:
    1         Senate Amendment (with title amendment)
    3         Delete everything after the enacting clause
    4  and insert:
    5         Section 1. Section 752.001, Florida Statutes, is amended to
    6  read:
    7         752.001 Definitions.—As used in For purposes of this
    8  chapter, the term:
    9         (1) “Grandparent” shall include great-grandparent.
   10         (2) “Missing” means having whereabouts which are unknown
   11  for a period of at least 90 days and not being able to be
   12  located after a diligent search and inquiry. Such search and
   13  inquiry for a missing person must include, at a minimum,
   14  inquiries of all relatives of the person who can reasonably be
   15  identified by the petitioner, inquiries of hospitals in the
   16  areas where the person last resided, inquiries of the person’s
   17  recent employers, inquiries of state and federal agencies likely
   18  to have information about the person, inquiries of appropriate
   19  utility and postal providers, a thorough search of at least one
   20  electronic database specifically designed for locating persons,
   21  and inquiries of appropriate law enforcement agencies.
   22         (3) “Persistent vegetative state” has the same meaning as
   23  provided in s. 765.101(12).
   24         Section 2. Section 752.01, Florida Statutes, is repealed.
   25         Section 3. Section 752.011, Florida Statutes, is created to
   26  read:
   27         752.011 Petition for grandparent visitation with a minor
   28  child.—A grandparent of a minor child whose parents are
   29  deceased, missing, or in a persistent vegetative state, or whose
   30  one parent is deceased, missing, or in a persistent vegetative
   31  state and whose other parent has been convicted of a felony or
   32  an offense of violence evincing behavior that poses a
   33  substantial threat of harm to the minor child’s health or
   34  welfare, may petition the court for court-ordered visitation
   35  with the grandchild under this section.
   36         (1) Upon the filing of a petition by a grandparent for
   37  visitation, the court shall hold a preliminary hearing to
   38  determine whether the petitioner has made a prima facie showing
   39  of parental unfitness or significant harm to the child. Absent
   40  such a showing, the court shall dismiss the petition and may
   41  award reasonable attorney fees and costs to be paid by the
   42  petitioner to the respondent.
   43         (2) If the court finds that there is prima facie evidence
   44  that a parent is unfit or that there is significant harm to the
   45  child, the court may appoint a guardian ad litem and shall refer
   46  the matter to family mediation as provided in s. 752.015. If
   47  family mediation does not successfully resolve the issue of
   48  grandparent visitation, the court shall proceed with a final
   49  hearing.
   50         (3) After conducting a final hearing on the issue of
   51  visitation, the court may award reasonable visitation to the
   52  grandparent with respect to the minor child if the court finds
   53  by clear and convincing evidence that a parent is unfit or that
   54  there is significant harm to the child, that visitation is in
   55  the best interest of the minor child, and that the visitation
   56  will not materially harm the parent-child relationship.
   57         (4) In assessing the best interest of the child under
   58  subsection (3), the court shall consider the totality of the
   59  circumstances affecting the mental and emotional well-being of
   60  the minor child, including:
   61         (a) The love, affection, and other emotional ties existing
   62  between the minor child and the grandparent, including those
   63  resulting from the relationship that had been previously allowed
   64  by the child’s parent.
   65         (b) The length and quality of the previous relationship
   66  between the minor child and the grandparent, including the
   67  extent to which the grandparent was involved in providing
   68  regular care and support for the child.
   69         (c) Whether the grandparent established ongoing personal
   70  contact with the minor child before the death of the parent,
   71  before the onset of the parent’s persistent vegetative state, or
   72  before the parent was missing.
   73         (d) The reasons cited by the respondent parent in ending
   74  contact or visitation between the minor child and the
   75  grandparent.
   76         (e) Whether there has been significant and demonstrable
   77  mental or emotional harm to the minor child as a result of the
   78  disruption in the family unit, whether the child derived support
   79  and stability from the grandparent, and whether the continuation
   80  of such support and stability is likely to prevent further harm.
   81         (f) The existence or threat to the minor child of mental
   82  injury as defined in s. 39.01.
   83         (g) The present mental, physical, and emotional health of
   84  the minor child.
   85         (h) The present mental, physical, and emotional health of
   86  the grandparent.
   87         (i) The recommendations of the minor child’s guardian ad
   88  litem, if one is appointed.
   89         (j) The result of any psychological evaluation of the minor
   90  child.
   91         (k) The preference of the minor child if the child is
   92  determined to be of sufficient maturity to express a preference.
   93         (l) A written testamentary statement by the deceased parent
   94  regarding visitation with the grandparent. The absence of a
   95  testamentary statement is not deemed to provide evidence that
   96  the deceased or missing parent or parent in a persistent
   97  vegetative state would have objected to the requested
   98  visitation.
   99         (m) Other factors that the court considers necessary to
  100  making its determination.
  101         (5) In assessing material harm to the parent-child
  102  relationship under subsection (3), the court shall consider the
  103  totality of the circumstances affecting the parent-child
  104  relationship, including:
  105         (a) Whether there have been previous disputes between the
  106  grandparent and the parent over childrearing or other matters
  107  related to the care and upbringing of the minor child.
  108         (b) Whether visitation would materially interfere with or
  109  compromise parental authority.
  110         (c) Whether visitation can be arranged in a manner that
  111  does not materially detract from the parent-child relationship,
  112  including the quantity of time available for enjoyment of the
  113  parent-child relationship and any other consideration related to
  114  disruption of the schedule and routine of the parent and the
  115  minor child.
  116         (d) Whether visitation is being sought for the primary
  117  purpose of continuing or establishing a relationship with the
  118  minor child with the intent that the child benefit from the
  119  relationship.
  120         (e) Whether the requested visitation would expose the minor
  121  child to conduct, moral standards, experiences, or other factors
  122  that are inconsistent with influences provided by the parent.
  123         (f) The nature of the relationship between the child’s
  124  parent and the grandparent.
  125         (g) The reasons cited by the parent in ending contact or
  126  visitation between the minor child and the grandparent which was
  127  previously allowed by the parent.
  128         (h) The psychological toll of visitation disputes on the
  129  minor child.
  130         (i) Other factors that the court considers necessary in
  131  making its determination.
  132         (6) Part II of chapter 61 applies to actions brought under
  133  this section.
  134         (7) If actions under this section and s. 61.13 are pending
  135  concurrently, the courts are strongly encouraged to consolidate
  136  the actions in order to minimize the burden of litigation on the
  137  minor child and the other parties.
  138         (8) An order for grandparent visitation may be modified
  139  upon a showing by the person petitioning for modification that a
  140  substantial change in circumstances has occurred and that
  141  modification of visitation is in the best interest of the minor
  142  child.
  143         (9) An original action requesting visitation under this
  144  section may be filed by a grandparent only once during any 2
  145  year period, except on good cause shown that the minor child is
  146  suffering, or may suffer, significant and demonstrable mental or
  147  emotional harm caused by a parental decision to deny visitation
  148  between a minor child and the grandparent, which was not known
  149  to the grandparent at the time of filing an earlier action.
  150         (10) This section does not provide for grandparent
  151  visitation with a minor child placed for adoption under chapter
  152  63 except as provided in s. 752.071 with respect to adoption by
  153  a stepparent or close relative.
  154         (11) Venue shall be in the county where the minor child
  155  primarily resides, unless venue is otherwise governed by chapter
  156  39, chapter 61, or chapter 63.
  157         Section 4. Section 752.07, Florida Statutes, is repealed.
  158         Section 5. Section 752.071, Florida Statutes, is created to
  159  read:
  160         752.071 Effect of adoption by stepparent or close
  161  relative.—After the adoption of a minor child by a stepparent or
  162  close relative, the stepparent or close relative may petition
  163  the court to terminate an order granting grandparent visitation
  164  under this chapter which was entered before the adoption. The
  165  court may terminate the order unless the grandparent is able to
  166  show that the criteria of s. 752.011 authorizing the visitation
  167  continue to be satisfied.
  168         Section 6. Section 752.015, Florida Statutes, is amended to
  169  read:
  170         752.015 Mediation of visitation disputes.—It is shall be
  171  the public policy of this state that families resolve
  172  differences over grandparent visitation within the family. It is
  173  shall be the further public policy of this state that, when
  174  families are unable to resolve differences relating to
  175  grandparent visitation, that the family participate in any
  176  formal or informal mediation services that may be available. If
  177  When families are unable to resolve differences relating to
  178  grandparent visitation and a petition is filed pursuant to s.
  179  752.011 s. 752.01, the court shall, if such services are
  180  available in the circuit, refer the case to family mediation in
  181  accordance with the Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure rules
  182  promulgated by the Supreme Court.
  183         Section 7. This act shall take effect July 1, 2015.
  184  ================= T I T L E  A M E N D M E N T ================
  185  And the title is amended as follows:
  186         Delete everything before the enacting clause
  187  and insert:
  188                        A bill to be entitled                      
  189         An act relating to the rights of grandparents;
  190         amending s. 752.001, F.S.; providing definitions;
  191         repealing s. 752.01, F.S., relating to actions by a
  192         grandparent for visitation rights; creating s.
  193         752.011, F.S.; authorizing the grandparent of a minor
  194         child to petition a court for visitation under certain
  195         circumstances; requiring a preliminary hearing;
  196         providing for the payment of attorney fees and costs
  197         by a petitioner who fails to make a prima facie
  198         showing of harm; authorizing grandparent visitation if
  199         the court makes specified findings; providing factors
  200         for court consideration; providing applicability of
  201         the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement
  202         Act; encouraging the consolidation of certain
  203         concurrent actions; providing for modification of an
  204         order awarding grandparent visitation; limiting the
  205         frequency of actions seeking visitation; limiting
  206         applicability to a minor child placed for adoption;
  207         providing for venue; repealing s. 752.07, F.S.,
  208         relating to the effect of adoption of a child by a
  209         stepparent on grandparent visitation rights; creating
  210         s. 752.071, F.S.; providing conditions under which a
  211         court may terminate a grandparent visitation order
  212         upon adoption of a minor child by a stepparent or
  213         close relative; amending s. 752.015, F.S.; conforming
  214         provisions and cross-references to changes made by the
  215         act; providing an effective date.