Kyra’s Law Hangs In The Balance As The Yearly Legislative Session Nears Its End

In 2016, Kyra, Jacqueline Franchetti’s 2-year-old daughter, was killed at the hands of her ex-partner during their separation proceedings which went on for about a year. Due to this, people came out in support of Kyra and asked the state to have better laws that protect children and kids during the separation and divorce proceedings.

However, Kyra’s Law is currently a bill, and there seems to be no progress on the same. And according to New Haven family law attorneys, this is concerning because the legislative session for this year is about to end. To try and pass the bill, several student-athletes gathered at the Colonie High School track to urge the concerned bodies to pass Kyra’s law. The athletes of the Capital Region also stood in memory of the 23 children killed during the contentious divorce and custody proceedings since 2016.

Kyra’s Law ensures such scenarios don’t occur and kids are protected better during the proceedings. According to the bill, judges adjudging divorce and separation cases must have training for domestic and child abuse. Furthermore, the courts must learn whether there has been any abuse of the child before bringing the topic of custody rights, child visitation, and other such subjects for discussion. Overall, the idea is to ensure the health and safety of the children and make that the top priority while determining the outcomes of custody.

Assemblymen John McDonald and Phil Steck have supported Kyra’s Law and have deemed it a common sense directive. Moreover, they believe such a reform in Family Court proceedings is imperative. After all, no child must ensure any form of abuse, whether emotional, physical, or sexual, during the court proceedings.

Another Assemblyman, Andrew Hevesi, mentioned that his office has been in talks with the Office of Court Administration, which handles Family Court. The two parties have been ironing out the nitty-gritty of the points in the potential law.

Despite the support and the actions taken, the law has still not gone on floors in any chamber. This concerns the people as the yearly legislative session is nearing its end, and the bill might have to wait some more time before it is discussed and perhaps passed as a law.

Generally, the Family Court proceedings are quite long and extensive when it comes to such cases. In addition, hearings happen in an irregular manner, wherein the hearings might also be spaced over months. During this time, the tension within the people is bound to heighten, putting the kids’ safety at risk. Thus, reforms such as Kyra’s Law can ensure a better environment for kids during the proceedings. More often than not, kids are either in their formative years or teens, which is a difficult time to deal with issues such as these.

With Kyra’s Law, the judges would have to evaluate the child’s mental state and treatment from both parents almost immediately, even before any of the formal proceedings regarding custody begin.

However, a few things are getting in the way of the bill being discussed. First, the court needs to set a few systems in place to offer the judges the relevant training. Since the judicial system is under-resourced, this might be challenging. Furthermore, systems must also be created to verify if the judges have the relevant training, experience, and expertise to preside over such cases.

As these matters are being discussed, the civilians can only hope the intricate details are sorted. Thus, the bill can soon be addressed and set into motion. Enforcing Kyra’s Law will be complex but critical to ensuring the safety of kids who are distressed during such proceedings.


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