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Greyson's Legacy with Ali Kessler: How a Mother’s Love Is Changing Laws • How to Split a Toaster • Episode 914

Greyson’s Legacy with Ali Kessler: How a Mother’s Love Is Changing Laws

Content warning: This episode discusses domestic abuse, murder-suicide, and child loss.

In this deeply moving episode, Seth and Pete welcome a special guest, Ali Kessler, to share her story and discuss the groundbreaking Greyson’s Law. This episode was requested by a listener who wanted to hear directly from Ali about her experiences and advocacy.

Ali’s four-year-old son, Greyson, was tragically killed by his father in a murder-suicide just days after Ali sought help from the courts and police due to disturbing threats made by Greyson’s father. Ali has turned her grief into powerful advocacy, working tirelessly to pass Greyson’s Law in Florida to better protect children at risk of harm in divorce and custody cases.

Seth, Pete, and Ali dive into the details of Greyson’s Law, discussing how it aims to address the gap between the realities of domestic abuse and the family court system. They cover the challenges Ali faced in trying to protect Greyson prior to his death, and how the new law empowers judges to better consider threats and abuse directed at a parent when making custody decisions.

The conversation also delves into the complexities around identifying abuse, especially coercive control, which leaves no physical scars. Ali shares her hopes for expanded training for judges, lawyers, and law enforcement to improve understanding of domestic violence and how it impacts at-risk children.

Questions we answer in this episode:

  • How does Greyson’s Law aim to better protect children in family court cases?
  • What challenges do abuse survivors face in the court system?
  • How can coercive control be identified if it leaves no physical signs?

Key Takeaways:

  • Greyson’s Law requires Florida courts to consider threats against a parent when making custody decisions if there is reason to believe the child is also at risk.
  • Survivors of abuse often struggle to be heard and believed in family court.
  • Expanded training on domestic violence and coercive control is needed for judges, attorneys, and police.
  • While Greyson’s Law is specific to Florida, Ali is working with advocates in other states to help change laws and potentially enact protections at the federal level.

This episode is a must-listen for anyone who wants to understand the real-life impacts of domestic violence in family court and how legal reform, however hard-won, aims to protect the most vulnerable. Though Ali’s story is heartbreaking, her courage and tenacity in honoring Greyson’s legacy through advocacy is deeply inspiring.

We encourage listeners to visit Ali’s website, Greyson’s Choice, to learn more about her organization’s vital work and consider donating to support their mission to protect children at risk in divorce and custody cases.

Links & Notes

Seth Nelson is a Tampa based family lawyer known for devising creative solutions to difficult problems. In How to Split a Toaster, Nelson and co-host Pete Wright take on the challenge of divorce with a central objective — saving your most important relationships with your family, your former spouse, and yourself.