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Grandparent fights to change Florida law about grandchild visitation rights

Posted: 5:33 PM, Jul 16, 2018
Updated: 2018-07-16 22:07:31Z

PASCO COUNTY, Fla. — One Pasco County woman is trying to change Florida law after learning she has no rights to see her grandchild after her daughter’s tragic death.

"She just had a shining about her," said Tina Sessa when talking about her daughter.

Sessa says her 24-year-old daughter Monika Wicks loved her two children Ethan and Savanna, more than anything.

"Her kids were the light of her life," she said.

But on December 16, Monika was riding on the back of her boyfriend’s motorcycle when he crashed.

"Monika was ejected and died at the scene," said Sessa.

Sessa says the loss of her daughter was tragic enough, but less than two weeks later, she lost the right to see her granddaughter Savanna, when she went to live with her biological father.

"I thought for sure in our situation with the death of Monika that we would have some back door in," said Sessa. 

But there’s was not. Sessa, who has full custody of five-year-old Ethan, says Florida law does not allow grandparents or siblings rights for visitation in their situation.

That’s why Sessa is fighting to get “Savanna’s Law” made into a bill. The law would give grandparents and siblings visitation rights.

We reached out to the office of Pasco County state representative Amber Mariano. They gave us this statement: “Representative Mariano is in support of Savanna's law. She wants to be able to help family members gain visitation rights, especially the siblings.”

Sessa says she’s not only fighting for her grandchildren but for the thousands of families who are left with no rights after a tragedy.

Mariano has not confirmed whether she will sponsor the law.