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Custody Rights About to Change in Pennsylvania

By Sheryl Rentz on March 9, 2015

Under current Pennsylvania law, a convicted rapist can maintain parental rights over a child conceived through rape. Many believe that this is a large loophole in Pennsylvania law that must be closed before it hurts more sexual assault survivors. According to a WESA 90.5 news report, State Senator Randy Vulakovich and Representative Joe Hackett are introducing the Rape Survivor Child Custody and Support Act. If their bill becomes law, courts will have the authority to terminate the parental rights of a convicted rapist while preserving the rapist’s obligation to pay child support. This means that convicted rapists will remain financially responsible for the child, but they will not be granted parental rights.

As the law stands now, a rapist’s parental rights only go away if the child is adopted. Furthermore, victims of rape are required to make interactions with their rapist if they demand visitation rights. It is unclear how many women are suffering because of the way the law is currently written, but lawmakers have received a number of reports from women who are forced to deal with the men who raped them.

During the proceedings, the court will determine who has legal custody and who should have physical custody. In Pennsylvania, legal custody is the right to make major decisions that affect the child, such as where the kid goes to school. Physical custody is where the child will live. It is crucial for the parents and the child that an agreement is met that benefits everyone. Make sure your best interests are protected.

Custody rights cases are often complicated and messy. Furthermore, the custody laws are often changing. It can prove difficult for anyone who does not practice family law to keep abreast of the evolving law. If you are about to enter a custody agreement or are currently embroiled in a custody battle, make sure you secure the counsel and guidance of an experienced Pennsylvania child custody lawyer to ensure that your rights are protected.

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Posted in: Child Custody

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