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Fathers' rights must be protected in Pennsylvania

When parents in Pennsylvania get divorced, a child may be divided between two homes. Seeking the best interests of the children, the courts may grant shared custody or at least visitation rights so that the children can grow up knowing the love and guidance of both mom and dad. But when divorces are bitter and custody is disputed, fathers' rights may be denied.

A man with four daughters was shocked when his parental rights were terminated after a Child Protective Services investigation concluded that he had abused one of his girls. His 5-year-old daughter was taken to the hospital with a suspicious injury, and CPS was called in. Even after the child repeatedly denied that her father abused her, the CPS caseworker was apparently not convinced. She ordered a polygraph, which the man failed.

As the investigation continued, the youngest daughter, barely 4 years old, allegedly told the caseworker that she had been abused by her father. The child also admitted she did not know the difference between a lie and the truth. Even though a rape kit showed that apparently no abuse took place, a psychologist testified that the girl had made accusations of abuse. The man felt like he never had a fair chance of winning when the case went to court and his rights were terminated. He is afraid he may never see his daughters again.

This father continues to buy Christmas gifts for his daughters, hoping they will be reunited. In Pennsylvania, the termination of fathers' rights may seem like a nightmare. A dad may not be sure where to go for answers or information. During this confusing time, it may be a relief to contact an experienced family law attorney to discuss one's rights and to learn what options are available.

Source: woodtv.com, "Is process to terminate rights 'stacked against' parents?", Brian Sterling, May 19, 2016

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