Many parents who are considering custody litigation inquire as to whether Moms automatically get custody. It is true that Moms used to be the preferred custodians for minor children during the early twentieth century. There was a shared misconception that moms would be the better parents based on their natural nurturing instincts. This was especially true of young children or children of "tender years." In fact, a legal principle termed the "tender years doctrine" called for mothers to have custody of children until they were at least approaching their teenage years.
Support in Pennsylvania is dictated by the net monthly income of the parties. In the event that a party in a support matter has no income and asserts an inability to work due to medical issues, the support rules require that a physician verification form be completed. Pursuant to Pennsylvania Rule of Civil Procedure (Pa. R.C.P.) 1910.29 (b), the physician verification form should be completed by the party's physician and submitted at the time of the support conference. A sample of the actual form to be used is contained in Pa.R.C.P. 1910.29(b)(3). Supporting test results or doctor's notes can be submitted with the verification form if the party is okay with waiving their right to privacy of those documents under HIPAA.
April is National Child Abuse Prevention month. The goal is to raise awareness in respect to preventing abuse, reducing the risk of abuse and promoting healthy families. The Children's Bureau of the U.S. Department of Health sponsors the annual awareness campaign. The first Child Abuse Prevention week was recognized in 1982. It extended to an entire month of awareness the following year in 1983. The theme continues to be "Making Meaningful Connections" to promote familial and community relationships as a support system to reduce abuse. The national website at www.childwelfare.gov includes resources with practical tips for parents on preventing abuse. Topic areas include how to make healthy connections, how to feed your family, how to manage finances, and how to identify risk factors and protect against them.