Florida Senate - 2020 CS for SB 604 By the Committee on Judiciary; and Senator Bean 590-02763-20 2020604c1 1 A bill to be entitled 2 An act relating to the Servicemembers Civil Relief 3 Act; amending s. 39.01, F.S.; revising the definition 4 of the terms “abandoned” or “abandonment”; amending s. 5 39.0137, F.S.; providing that certain state laws 6 relating to children do not supersede the 7 Servicemembers Civil Relief Act; requiring the 8 Department of Children and Families to ensure that the 9 act is observed in certain cases; providing an 10 effective date. 11 12 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 13 14 Section 1. Subsection (1) of section 39.01, Florida 15 Statutes, is amended to read: 16 39.01 Definitions.—When used in this chapter, unless the 17 context otherwise requires: 18 (1) “Abandoned” or “abandonment” means a situation in which 19 the parent or legal custodian of a child or, in the absence of a 20 parent or legal custodian, the caregiver, while being able, has 21 made no significant contribution to the child’s care and 22 maintenance or has failed to establish or maintain a substantial 23 and positive relationship with the child, or both. For purposes 24 of this subsection, “establish or maintain a substantial and 25 positive relationship” includes, but is not limited to, frequent 26 and regular contact with the child through frequent and regular 27 visitation or frequent and regular communication to or with the 28 child, and the exercise of parental rights and responsibilities. 29 Marginal efforts and incidental or token visits or 30 communications are not sufficient to establish or maintain a 31 substantial and positive relationship with a child. A man’s 32 acknowledgment of paternity of the child does not limit the 33 period of time considered in determining whether the child was 34 abandoned. The term does not include a surrendered newborn 35 infant as described in s. 383.50, a “child in need of services” 36 as defined in chapter 984, or a “family in need of services” as 37 defined in chapter 984. The absence of a parent, legal 38 custodian, or caregiver responsible for a child’s welfare, who 39 is a servicemember, by reason of deployment or anticipated 40 deployment as defined in 50 U.S.C. s. 3938(e), may not be 41 considered or used as a factor in determining abandonment. The 42 incarceration, repeated incarceration, or extended incarceration 43 of a parent, legal custodian, or caregiver responsible for a 44 child’s welfare may support a finding of abandonment. 45 Section 2. Subsection (1) of section 39.0137, Florida 46 Statutes, is amended, and subsection (3) is added to that 47 section, to read: 48 39.0137 Federal law; rulemaking authority.— 49 (1) This chapter does not supersede the requirements of the 50 Indian Child Welfare Act, 25 U.S.C. ss. 1901 et seq.,
orthe 51 Multi-Ethnic Placement Act of 1994, Pub. L. No. 103-382, as 52 amended, the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, 50 U.S.C. ss. 3901 53 et seq., or the implementing regulations for such acts. 54 (3) The department shall ensure that the Servicemembers 55 Civil Relief Act is observed in cases where a parent, legal 56 custodian, or caregiver responsible for a child’s welfare, by 57 virtue of his or her service, is unable to take custody of his 58 or her child or appear before the court in person. 59 Section 3. This act shall take effect July 1, 2020.