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.
   12  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   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., or the
   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.