Kayden’s Law Will Apply in Future Pennsylvania Custody Cases

Posted by Joseph Lento | Mar 15, 2024 | 0 Comments

Kayden's Law arises out of the 2018 horrific murder of seven-year-old Kayden Mancuso by her biological father, Jeffrey Mancuso. The father wrote a vengeful message on Kayden's body directed to her mother and stepfather and then killed himself. The parties had been involved in a contentious, multi-year child custody proceeding in Bucks County. Pending legislation in Pennsylvania, child custody cases will seek to address this tragedy and protect all children from the dangers of abuse stemming from unsupervised visitation. If you are a party to a child custody case, contact the LLF Law Firm Family Law Team at 888.535.3686.

An Overview of Kayden's Law

The dramatic tragedy of Kayden's murder by a parent who had been granted unsupervised visitation caused a public outcry directed toward the trial judge, the governor, and multiple state legislators. The Pennsylvania General Assembly will consider enacting Kayden's Law sometime in 2024. Once finalized, Kaden's Law will be applied in future Pennsylvania child custody cases whenever there are allegations of abuse of a child

Kayden's Law would amend rules and procedures in child custody cases where child abuse is alleged. It would specify that the most important consideration in custody cases is the protection of the child. It would establish a separate hearing to review evidence after claims of abuse. If abuse is proved, it would require that a court-determined abusive party is limited to supervised custody until that party could show they do not pose a risk to the child's health and safety. Lastly, it would mandate ongoing, evidence-based training programs within courts regarding child abuse issues.

Expected Effects from the Enactment of Kayden's Law

Abuse can be difficult to determine, even with 20/20 hindsight. There was no evidence in the Mancuso's child custody proceedings that Kayden's father Jeffrey had ever abused her at all. Their relationship had been described as loving. Kayden's mother had sought a protective order based on Jeffrey's mental state of depression and evidence of his violent acts, but the requested protective orders were not granted. Consideration of the father's parental rights took precedence over the mother's concerns for their child's safety. Kayden's Law should cause a perceptible shift in child safety in family court decisions.

In a domestic violence case, when child abuse is proved, strict supervised visitation will likely be imposed on the abusive parent. If one parent falsely accuses the other parent of abuse, then the child custody consequences of false testimony will be severe against the false accuser. One thing is certain about Kayden's Law: Allegations of child abuse will raise all the stakes in a child custody proceeding. If you are a party to a child custody proceeding, contact the LLF Law Firm Family Law Team at 888.535.3686.

About the Author

Joseph Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento is a veteran of one of the nation's busiest family courts with nearly 20 years' experience passionately helping families. By day, he worked in the trenches of family court, and at night, he studied the law. He helped countless families while working at family court, and he went on to become an attorney, dedicating his law practice to continuing the work he started years earlier. Mr. Lento's experience both behind the scenes and on the front lines allows him to understand a client's family law matter from all angles, and allows him to find and employ the most effective strategies to get favorable outcomes for any client. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in Pennsylvania New Jersey, and New York, and is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide. In the courtroom and in life, attorney Joseph D. Lento stands up when the bell rings!


There are no comments for this post. Be the first and Add your Comment below.

Leave a Comment

Contact a skilled Family Law Team Today!

The LLF Law Firm has unparalleled experience practicing Family Law in Pennsylvania. If you are having any uncertainties about what the future may hold for you and your family, contact our offices today. Our Family Law Team will go above and beyond the needs for any client and fight for what is fair.

This website was created only for general information purposes. It is not intended to be construed as legal advice for any situation. Only a direct consultation with a licensed Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York attorney can provide you with formal legal counsel based on the unique details surrounding your situation. The pages on this website may contain links and contact information for third party organizations - the Lento Law Firm does not necessarily endorse these organizations nor the materials contained on their website. In Pennsylvania, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout Pennsylvania's 67 counties, including, but not limited to Philadelphia, Allegheny, Berks, Bucks, Carbon, Chester, Dauphin, Delaware, Lancaster, Lehigh, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, Schuylkill, and York County. In New Jersey, attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New Jersey's 21 counties: Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Salem, Somerset, Sussex, Union, and Warren County, In New York, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New York's 62 counties. Outside of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, unless attorney Joseph D. Lento is admitted pro hac vice if needed, his assistance may not constitute legal advice or the practice of law. The decision to hire an attorney in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania counties, New Jersey, New York, or nationwide should not be made solely on the strength of an advertisement. We invite you to contact the Lento Law Firm directly to inquire about our specific qualifications and experience. Communicating with the Lento Law Firm by email, phone, or fax does not create an attorney-client relationship. The Lento Law Firm will serve as your official legal counsel upon a formal agreement from both parties. Any information sent to the Lento Law Firm before an attorney-client relationship is made is done on a non-confidential basis.