As a divorce attorney, I am very excited to see that the Florida Legislature is listening to Florida parents and are changing the law to protect children with special needs. Did you know that if you are currently going through a divorce in Florida or a custody dispute, as a parent, you MUST take a parenting class? Did you also know that, up until now, there was NO class required for parents of kids with special medical or psychological needs? Obviously, a divorce or a custody dispute can have a greater impact on a child with physical or mental disabilities…. So why are we not protecting these children??
This is exactly the question that Raquel Catalano asked and kept asking until she found a way to improve the system. Raquel found herself going through a divorce in Florida and realized that the Courts had no safeguards in place for her daughter who has special needs. Raquel describes her daughter as being “amazing, beautiful, and bright”, and goes on to say that she wants her daughter to have a chance at success in school and in life. During her divorce, Raquel found the required parenting class to be “incomplete when it comes to the specific needs, leaving parents at a loss in how to manage this shared responsibility.” She turned to her local legislators and advocated on behalf of her daughter and all the other kids in Florida. Eventually, she got the ear of her local legislature. A bill was introduced and eventually passed in Tallahassee.
Bill CS/CS/DB 1532 sponsored by State Senator Lauren Book, will soon be available to divorcing and separating parents of children who have identified special needs or emotional concerns, an education program that will provide information tailored to children who have special needs or emotional concerns. The bill is set to go into effect on October 1, 2021. This is amazing news!!
Senator Lauren Book’s bill is definitely a step in the right direction for Florida. I applaud the Senator for taking on this cause. I congratulate Ms. Raquel Catalano, a mother on a mission, who changed the law not only to benefit her daughter but for the benefit of all the kids in Florida who do not have someone fighting for them!
The post The Florida Legislature Gets It Right For Children With Special Needs first appeared on The Florida Star | The Georgia Star.