Gov. DeSantis OKs new protections for adults with disabilities

allison-tant (Large)
Cases involving dependent adults' support had been left to court interpretation.

Gov. Ron DeSantis has signed legislation (SB 226) that makes it clearer when, and from who, an adult with disabilities can claim support.

Democratic Sen. Lori Berman and Rep. Allison Tant sponsored the legislation, earning unanimous approval in both chambers.

Berman, in committee, said it clarifies a gray area in the law regarding adults with disabilities.

The 15-page bill codifies and clarifies existing common law regarding “dependent adult children” — unmarried adults who are incapable of self-support because of a disability present before age 18. Existing statutes are largely silent on who is responsible if the parents of these adult children divorce, Tant said.

“It’s been the subject of court battles for a long time,” Tant said. “We don’t have any guidelines to offer.”

That will change going forward.

Tant said the inspiration for the bill grew out of a situation involving the Miami father of a 27-year-old Down syndrome child who refused to support her. A lawsuit against the father was filed in 2019 and the circuit court dismissed the case. The court ordered the child to pay her father’s legal fees because it was determined to be a frivolous lawsuit.

An appeals court determined the lower court had erred in 2020, however.

“This codifies the law so cases like this don’t happen,” said Lisa Hurley, a lobbyist with Smith, Bryan & Myers, representing the Family Law Section of the Florida Bar. “This gives courts a clear guideline in determining if and when to award such support.”

The new law explicitly puts into statute:

— Parents’ duty to support a dependent adult child and codifies procedures for getting that support, if need be.

— The right to sue at any time to establish support for a dependent adult child, whether it’s initiated by the dependent adult child, his or her parent or another involved person, such as the adult child’s guardian or guardian advocate.

— Safeguards for court-ordered support for a dependent adult child, to protect and preserve government benefits the dependent adult child is receiving or may be entitled to receive.

Anne Geggis

Anne Geggis is a South Florida journalist who began her career in Vermont and has worked at the Sun-Sentinel, the Daytona Beach News-Journal and the Gainesville Sun covering government issues, health and education. She was a member of the Sun-Sentinel team that won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the Parkland high school shooting. You can reach her on Twitter @AnneBoca or by emailing [email protected].


  • LunaJone

    June 13, 2023 at 2:35 pm

    I can make $200 an hour working on my home computer. I never thought it was possible, but my closest friend made $25,000 in just five weeks working on this bs03 historic project. convinced me to take part. For more information,
    Detail Are Here———————————————————>>>

  • Dont Say FLA

    June 13, 2023 at 3:54 pm

    Finally something Rhonda didn’t exempt themselves from. I hope Rhonda “Dee” DeSantis and Casey “Anthony” DeSantis get the help they so obviously need.

  • Michael K

    June 13, 2023 at 11:00 pm

    Rep. Tant is an exceptional public servant who represents EVERYONE in her district with dignity and respect. She is an extraordinarily kind and decent human being, and I thank her for her strength to fight the good fight surrounded by hate and bigotry from the governor and his henchmen.

  • Kathy in FL

    June 14, 2023 at 3:29 pm

    Older foster parents who were considering adoption of special needs kids will find this the reason to say no…contemplating spending their golden years forever supporting a child who can sue them a 18 is going to be a no-starter in a lot of cases. Unintended consequences.

Comments are closed.


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Cole Pepper, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Drew Wilson, and Mike Wright.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704

Sign up for Sunburn