Manderino bill goes to governor

Legislation that would change the way Pennsylvania handles child custody cases is on its way to Gov. Rendell’s desk.  

House Bill 1639, sponsored by State Rep. Kathy Manderino, would prohibit courts from awarding custody to a particular parent based solely on gender.  Manderino’s district covers all or parts of East Falls, Manayunk and Roxborough.

“The ultimate goal of our child custody system should be the best interest of the child,” Manderino said in a statement.  

Under the bill, courts will also have to disclose their reasons for awarding custody to one party. 

“Failure by the courts to explain custody decisions often leaves the parents and families frustrated, and can lead to resentment and continued hostility in the future,” Manderino’s statement said. 

The bill would also give grandparents more rights in such cases. 

Manderino said she hopes her bill will make custody hearings less contentious. The bill awaits a signature from Rendell to become law.

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