New Family Law Bill Passes in Florida Legislature

Alan R. Burton Attorney at Law

Florida has long been a destination for international travel and business. Many people moving from foreign countries to the United States choose to make Florida their home. For this reason, many law experts are critical of a new bill that recently passed through state legislature regarding the applicability of foreign law in Florida family law courts. The bill was introduced by Republican state Senator Alan Hays and passed in the Senate by a vote of 24-14, while the House companion bill passed by 78-40.

If signed by Governor Rick Scott, the new law would prohibit the application of foreign laws in certain family law matters and would give judges the ability to refuse to uphold agreements and orders from foreign courts if they violate American public policy. For example, if a couple moves to Florida from Mexico and had a premarital agreement, a court can decide not to uphold the agreement if the judge believes it goes against public policy. Six states already have similar laws in place regarding foreign laws–Kansas, Arizona, Louisiana, South Dakota, North Carolina, and Tennessee.

Anti-Muslim Allegations

Though this bill has less severe anti-foreigner language than earlier versions, many people have criticized the legislation as alienating foreigners in a state that tries to welcome internationals. Specifically, critics have stated the bill is anti-Muslim and that it particularly intends to restrict Sharia religious laws from impacting family law matters in the United States. Florida reportedly has at least 150,000 registered voters who identify as Muslim, and that number is growing. Proponents of the bill point out that the law does not even mention religion and does not target any one specific minority group. Anti-defamation groups and Democrats plan on asking the governor to veto the bill.

Proponents also state that the law does not actually change anything significantly in the Florida family law courts. They say that judges already reviewed any foreign contracts for public policy violations, and this law simply would take court decisions and solidify them into legislation. However, no one knows what the full effect of the law will be and how it will affect residents who have foreign family law contracts or judgments. However it is clear that the law will only apply to family law cases and not real estate or business contracts or other types of agreements.

We will keep an eye on the progress of this new family law legislation and keep our readers up to date on any future implications of this new bill. In the meantime, if you have any family law issues regarding agreements or orders made by foreign courts, it is best to contact an experienced family lawyer as soon as possible.

Contact a Florida Family Law Attorney for Help

Family laws and court precedents can change on a regular basis. If you have any family law matter or concerns, you should always consult with a family law attorney who is familiar with Florida law and keeps up to date on any new changes. If you are facing divorce or any other issue in Boca Raton or Fort Lauderdale, do not hesitate to contact experienced lawyer Alan R. Burton for assistance today.

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