|December 23, 2014 11:45 AM
|Representative Michael H. Schlossberg
|All House members
|Protections for Victims of Domestic Violence in Divorce
|In the near future, I will re-introduce legislation – House Bill 1560 – to amend Title 23 (Domestic Relations) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes to allow a spouse, who establishes that his or her spouse was convicted of a crime and that the filing spouse was a victim of that crime, to obtain a divorce in the same manner as if the convicted spouse consented to the divorce. Additionally, an abused spouse would be permitted to forego court-ordered face-to-face counseling with the abuser if there is a current or prior protection from abuse order naming the abused spouse as the defendant or if the spouse was convicted of a crime in which the filing spouse was the victim of that crime.
Spousal abuse is a nightmare for the victims forced to live with the physical and emotional violence and torment of another human exerting power and control over them. Since dissolving a marriage requires a legal process that often forces the victim of abuse to endure painful memories of violence and abuse, the decision to escape the abuse and terminate the marriage is often difficult and painstaking especially when combined with other factors such as finances, religion, self-esteem, fear, shame, and isolation. Under Pennsylvania law, if the abuser does not consent to the divorce, the marriage may continue for an additional two years thus subjecting the abused spouse to multiple contacts, including three face-to-face counseling sessions, with his or her abuser.
My legislation would provide simple and meaningful reforms to better protect victims of domestic violence. I urge you to co-sponsor this important legislation.
House Bill 1560 was co-sponsored by the following Members: O'BRIEN, McNEILL, CALTAGIRONE, STEPHENS, B. BOYLE, YOUNGBLOOD, V. BROWN, DERMODY, SWANGER, MUNDY, PARKER,FREEMAN, BROWNLEE, TRUITT, THOMAS, BIZZARRO, PAINTER, DeLUCA, FARINA, MOLCHANY, WHITE, COHEN, MURT, NEILSON, D. COSTA and PASHINSKI
Introduced as HB12