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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: January 21, 2020 10:29 AM
From: Representative William C. Kortz, II
To: All House members
Subject: Rights of non-custodial parents (Title 23-Domestic Relations)
Children need support, some more than others.

As such, throughout recent history, both elected officials and courts have generally agreed that when a family structure breaks down or is otherwise dissolved, society must ensure that any children from the union receive this support.

In Pennsylvania, a significant portion of these requirements are contained in Title 23 (Domestic Relations) of PA Consolidated Statutes. While it is generally accepted that most support orders end at the age of 18, a provision in Section 4321 of Title 23 allows for the support of children beyond this age.

Recently, it has come to my attention that when one of the parties in a support order for a child over 18 does not meet certain responsibilities, there is a little recourse for the aggrieved party. For example, the court may order the non-custodial parent of an intellectually disabled child to pay support beyond the age of 18. At some point after reaching 18 years of age, the custodial parent arbitrarily determines the non-custodial parent should not maintain the previous level of contact with their child.

Under current law. it is my understanding the aggrieved individual has little recourse and must continue with their financial support under the order, while both the child and the non-custodial parent are deprived of the benefits of mutually beneficial relationship.

Just as continued financial support may be appropriate in some cases when a child reaches 18, continued emotional support, in the form of visitation, may be equally as important.

As such, my legislation would enable the court to continue or revive an order of custody or visitation that existed prior to the child's 18th birthday.

Let's ensure that every child has both the financial and emotional support they need to thrive.