A Florida legislative committee has voted 5-4 on what is called the "anti-sharia" law. What this means is that SB 58 could still become law. If passed, it would prevent Florida courts from applying foreign laws in divorce and child custody dispute. It appears that the bill is mostly designed to prevent couples from using the Quran when making arguments in courts.
The attempts to pass this law have created opposition and controversy. Many critics have felt the legislation is not based upon any real need in our court systems. Though one legislator claimed it is "not a blanket prohibition against international law" in divorce type cases, a number of organizations state that the bill would have an effect upon divorces of Jewish couples. Some feel it would prevent divorce settlements made under Israeli or Jewish law from being recognized.
We will yet have to see if this legislation is passed, and if it is passed it will be upheld. Federal courts have already struck down a similar bill that went into effect in another state.
Whatever the Florida legislators decide, most family law attorneys will attempt to resolve divorce and child custody matters in a manner that will accommodate the needs and desires of all parties involved. This can mean meeting the emotional, cultural, religious, and educational needs of a child that happens to be the focal point of a child custody dispute.
In almost all circumstances, it's best to resolve such matters amicably and without the need of court intervention.
Source: World Bulletin, "'Anti-sharia' legislation passes FL Senate committee," April 9, 2013
- Learn more about visitation, child custody and other divorce matters tried in Florida courts and our attorneys' website.