Understanding Pennsylvania’s New Child Custody Laws

Former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell left a lasting legacy upon his exit from office, as the politician reformed the state’s child custody laws, according to the Centre Daily Times.

The new laws have led to four major changes in the state’s handling of parents, children and custody. While the legislation has increased the level of protection for kids due to more stringent rules regarding past convictions and drug use, the main change has to deal with the gender of parents, the news source reported.

According to the Times, the new laws make gender neutrality in custody cases official. In a dispute between two parents, the rules direct that there should be no presumption that full rights will be given to a particular individual.

Judges in the state are not allowed to give any preference to a parent’s gender when they are deciding a custody order, the news source reported.

In 2007 alone, the Office of Child Support Enforcement collected up to $25 billion in payments associated with child support cases, and established more than 1.2 million new orders for parents and children, according to the Administration for Children and Families.