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05/23/2024 12:00 PM
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
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House of Representatives
Session of 2023 - 2024 Regular Session


Posted: March 7, 2023 02:11 PM
From: Representative Melissa L. Shusterman
To: All House members
Subject: Family Court Reform
Laws pertaining to divorce and child custody are essential in the operation of family court. However, our current laws are in need of reform in order to institute a system that protects children and victims of domestic violence, eliminates barriers to meaningful dispute, and efficiently and cost-effectively decides family litigation cases.
For this reason, I will be introducing legislation that would establish a family action intake service in order to screen family actions for allegations or evidence of substance abuse, child abuse, and domestic violence. Furthermore, each judicial district would be required to establish a differentiated case management system for family actions based upon complexity, which would determine if the case may be assigned to the priority track, expedited track, or complex track. The legislation would establish a mediation program in child custody cases, except in cases of a history of child abuse or domestic violence. Each judicial district would be required to establish a seminar for separating parents and each judicial district would have the option of establishing a seminar for children of separating parents. Lastly, a fund would be established to assist in the costs of family litigation when a party is unable to pay due to financial hardship.
The improvement of family court is essential in order to better serve those navigating the difficulties of divorce and child custody. Please join me in co-sponsoring this legislation so we may ensure the betterment of family court.