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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: January 31, 2018 01:16 PM
From: Representative Mark Rozzi
To: All House members
Subject: Prohibition of Equitable Distribution of Marital Property by Convicted Sexual Abusers
In the near future, I will introduce legislation that prohibits a party convicted of sexual abuse of a spouse or child, from being eligible for the equitable distribution of marital property acquired by the other party.

When a parent is convicted of any type of child abuse against his/her child in the state of Pennsylvania, the very child(ren) who have already lost so much are also at risk of losing their security and home.

Pennsylvania law currently allows for individuals convicted of child abuse to receive half of all marital assets, potentially causing further trauma and loss to the victim(s). Child abusers can not only ask for half of any equity in the home, (along with the non-abusing, custodial parent's retirement funds), but can also seek alimony from the custodial parent.

In other words, there can be substantiated abuse at the hands of one parent against an innocent child that causes a separation/divorce. The abusing parent can then seek "payment" from the non-abusing parent through equitable distribution and the PA divorce/family laws, further hurting the child(ren).

At the very least, the children's home should be a safe and protected place for them to remain and heal. In Pennsylvania, distribution of marital assets does not take into account the fault of either party, even if the fault is as atrocious as mental, physical and/or sexual abuse of their own child.

Criminals need to be stopped from further victimizing abused children through divorce proceedings. Make a way for these children to stay in their homes, where they can find not only comfort and stability, but also hope and healing.

Introduced as HB2059