Like other states, Pennsylvania’s laws recognize that victims of domestic violence, as well as any children involved, deserve special protection.
Generally speaking, the common assumption that both parents should be involved in their children’s lives and have plenty of time to develop a relationship with their kids does not apply.
Instead, the court’s paramount concern is for the safety of the children and other victims.
Family courts in Pennsylvania will consider allegations of domestic violence and abuse since, obviously, this sort of behavior negatively affects children.
Likewise, courts have specific authority to determine if a parent or a resident in the parent’s home has had what are called founded allegations of child abuse and neglect against him, even though these records ordinarily are confidential.
Moreover, in Pennsylvania, there are several crimes listed in the law, including crimes of violence, that may disqualify a parent from having custody.
Specifically, if a parent or a person with whom the parent resides has committed a crime that appears on the list, then the parent will have to prove that she is not at risk for hurting the children before she can have any form of custody.
While many of the crimes listed are quite serious, others include more common offenses, like drunk driving or violating a civil protective order.
Custody cases where accusations of abuse, misconduct are in play can be difficult
Custody cases where one parent is accused of misconduct can be hard to resolve, in part because the stakes are so high. A State College parent who has been a victim of violence or abuse and wants to keep the family safe will need to know how to prove their case.
On the other hand, parents may also be the target of false or exaggerated allegations that are designed to deprive them with a relationship with their children.