Florida poised to set guidelines for exchange of minors in split custody scenarios

DIVORCE CUSTODY
The House passed this bill unanimously. The Senate will likely do the same.

Divorced parents are on the verge of seeing new state guidelines for custodial exchanges of their children.

Sen. Clay Yarborough’s bill (SB 580) advanced through the Senate Rules Committee, its second and final stop before consideration by the full Senate.

The measure passed the House unanimously already, and the Senate has received that identical version (HB 385) in messages. That means there is little drama ahead for this legislation, which could be taken up in a floor session in the coming days.

The bill is referred to as the Cassie Carli Law to honor Cassie Carli, a 37-year-old Navarre woman who vanished in March 2022 following the scheduled exchange of her preschool-aged daughter, only to be found in a grave in Alabama weeks later.

The legislation would require court-approved plans for shared custody to include, unless otherwise agreed to by both parents, a list of “designated authorized locations” to exchange custody of their children. Estranged parents can opt out with a written waiver, however, should they be able to work things out more amicably.

In cases where parents provide evidence that they or their child may be at risk of harm, a court may require the parents to exchange in the parking lot of a county Sheriff’s Office.

The parking lot must be accessible at all times, well-lit, have video surveillance and include a purple light or a sign billing it as a “neutral safe exchange location.”

The bill also entitles domestic violence victims to the same protections, mandating a court order to enforce the condition.

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Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics contributed to this report.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski



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