Paul L. Caron

Saturday, February 26, 2022

Florida House Passes ‘Markel’ Grandparent Visitation Bill

Florida Politics, House Passes ‘Markel’ Grandparent Visitation Bill:

Markel & Parents'Out of our tragedy, we hope to create something meaningful for other families to visit their grandchildren.'

Today, the Florida House passed a bill with profound meaning for Florida children and grandparents who become estranged from one another after a tragedy.

HB 1119 says grandparents can ask a court to consider visitation rights if their child was killed and their grandchild’s other living parent was found responsible for this death by a civil or criminal court. The bill passed with a vote of 112-3.

The conditions are narrow but powerful, applying to families where a child has lost one parent due to the intentional wrongdoing of the other parent and then suffered another loss by being cut off from their deceased parent’s family. In such cases, under HB 1119 and its companion SB 1408, courts will have the authority to hear petitions for visitation with grandparents.

The bill was inspired in part by the 2014 murder of FSU law professor Dan Markel, who was hunted down and shot in the head by a hitman shortly after dropping his two sons off at preschool.

Prosecutors have publicly identified Markel’s ex-wife, Wendi Adelson, as an alleged “co-conspirator” to the murder, along with her mother and brother. Law enforcement says Adelson’s motive was to relocate to South Florida amid custody battles with Markel. While Adelson family members have not been arrested yet, three others have — the hitman, who was found guilty and sentenced to life; his accomplice, who pleaded guilty and confessed who had hired them; and their intermediary, who faces a retrial in May.

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