Establishing custody of youngsters: Kayden’s legislation can go too far

Frank Cervone, managing director of the support center for child advocates. Courtesy photo

The Pennsylvania Senate and many members of the family law community have had a heated debate for months over the proposed custody law known as Kayden’s Law. It’s about how the courts can better cater to children’s needs and become more sensitive to the traumatic family experiences that children can suffer.

What’s wrong with custody courts? A lot of. Files are overloaded and cases are often delayed by years. Few counties have mechanisms in place to conduct thorough, neutral custody reviews. If the parties cannot pay for these expensive studies, the courts are left to the reports submitted by the litigants. With no right to a court-appointed attorney, thousands of parents per se appear. Reforms are needed, but Kayden’s law will over-correct a system due to a unique, dire case.

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