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February 2013 Archives

Implications of Rape in Custody/Parental Rights

Pennsylvania has some of the best protections nationwide in the instance of mothers who opt to have a child following a rape. First, there is the potential that the rights of the natural father/perpetrator of the rape can be terminated. Pursuant to 23 Pa CS 2511(a), which lays out the grounds on which a parent's rights can be involuntarily terminated, paragraph (7) provides for termination where "the parent is the father of a child conceived as a result of rape or incest." While it is a plus that the law specifically allows termination of parental rights in a rape case, a party petitioning for involuntary termination will still need someone willing to adopt the child simultaneously with the termination which may cause a dilemma.

Factors in Equitable Distribution

Equitable distribution is the term used in Pennsylvania referring to division of marital property at the time of divorce. Marital property will consist of nearly everything acquired in either party's name from the date of marriage through to the date of separation. Equitable distribution does not necessarily mean a 50/50 split of all marital property. Instead, the statute on equitable distribution sets out 13 factors to be considered. Those factors are listed in 23 Pa C.S. 3502 and include the following:

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