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Pennsylvania’s legal treatment of father involvement post-divorce

On Behalf of | Jul 7, 2023 | Family Law |

Did you know that mothers head nearly 80% of single-parent households? In fact, at least 20% of these households do not have father involvement at all.

Fortunately, more states now pursue custody arrangements that involve both parents during the family separation process. As of November 3, 2022, Pennsylvania joined this list. This is what you should know about Pennsylvania’s new parenting law.

Removal of institutional barriers

In the past, many courts sided with mothers during custody disputes. However, that trend has changed in recent history. Not only are courts more apt to order joint custody, but they have also started awarding fathers primary custody. Pennsylvania seeks to end institutional barriers that prevented men from developing, raising and supporting their children. Instead, the courts should encourage and prepare men for the financial, emotional and legal challenges they could face as fathers. These barriers include a lack of housing programs, support services, educational help and mental and behavioral health services available to fathers.

Reasons for the changes

Pennsylvania recognizes that when both parents become involved in their children’s lives, the children actually thrive and have better educational, behavioral and emotional outcomes. Children’s well-being benefits from paternal involvement. In fact, the lack of fathers’ involvement can lead to underachievement, incarceration, substance use and abuse, economic instability and emotional challenges.

Fathers’ responsibilities

Pennsylvania holds fathers responsible for the social, intellectual, emotional, physical, financial and spiritual well-being of their children. The courts seek the best interest of the child, so if fathers can better support and care for their children, judges will award them primary custody. They can no longer presume that mothers provide the best care.

For the best outcome of your custody case, stay involved in your children’s lives and act with respect and patience toward your children and former spouse.