Paul L. Caron

Monday, June 27, 2022

Florida Gov. DeSantis Signs Markel Act, Giving Grandparents Right To Visit Their Grandchildren Where Living Parent Killed Other Parent

Following up on my previous postJustice for Dan (Facebook, Twitter) Press Release, Gov. DeSantis Signs Bill on Grandparent Visitation, Inspired by Story of Dan Markel:

6a00d8341c4eab53ef02a30d40d522200b-800wiFlorida Governor Ron DeSantis signed HB 1119, referred to by advocates as the ‘Markel Act’ — referring to the tragic 2014 murder-for-hire of FSU law professor Dan Markel who was locked in ongoing divorce disputes with his ex-wife, Wendi Adelson, the mother of his two sons. Specifically, just prior to the murder, Wendi had petitioned the court to relocate to Miami where her family was living, but was denied. After authorities implicated members of the Adelson family the murder, Wendi cut off contact between Markel’s parents and the children.

Even after Wendi, her mother, and her brother (now incarcerated) were named as “co-conspirators” in the crime, Florida law left no opening for Markel’s parents to seek visitation with the children. This prompted allies to seek changes to Florida law, to make it easier for grandparents in these situations to petition courts for visitation.

In order to ensure parental rights were protected, the bill language applies only to cases where the living parent was found responsible for the other parent’s death by a civil or criminal court. While this has not occurred in Markel’s case, the existence of this law may give living parents good reason to permit visitation with grandparents rather than enduring the ordeal of lawsuits. It may also lead others to avoid planning the murder of a co-parent altogether.

Statement from Ruth Markel on behalf of their family

We are so grateful to Gov. DeSantis for signing this bill, and for the leadership of House Speaker Chris Sprowls, Representative Jackie Toledo, and Senator Keith Perry, for carrying the effort forward. This effort came out of tragedy, but we are pleased and hopeful that this initiative will benefit other families. Danny would be proud to know such mountains were moved for the protection of his two beloved sons.

Florida Politics, ‘Markel Act’ Signed Into Law, Gives Grandparents Visitation Rights

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