What Kayden's Law Might Means for Child Custody Proceedings

Posted by Joseph Lento | Jan 20, 2021 | 0 Comments

The holiday season is a magical time of year for most families, especially those with children. And in this video posted by Kathryn Sherlock a few weeks ago, it seemed that sentiment was alive and well in her home.

In the footage, you see her 7-year-old daughter, Kayden Mancuso, happily dancing and singing in front of the family Christmas tree. It makes you smile. That is until you realize that Mrs. Sherlock posted the video in memoriam.

Kayden Mancuso's father killed her 3 years ago. Since that time, Mrs. Sherlock has been advocating for the passage of Kayden Law, Pennsylvania Senate Bill 868.

Kayden's Tragic Death

Kayden's father, Jeffrey Mancuso, was a disturbed man. He had been diagnosed with antisocial and narcissistic personality traits. The court had previously convicted him of aggravated assault, and he had a reported history of violent behavior that included punching high school teachers, fighting in college, assaulting his ex-wife and mother, biting off part of a man's ear during an altercation, and abusing the family dog.

Despite being made aware of this history and Mrs. Sherlock's request for her daughter's safety and protection, a Bucks County court judge allowed Mr. Mancuso unsupervised visitation with their daughter. During a visit on August 6, 2018, Mr. Mancuso bludgeoned Kayden to death before killing himself.

What Kayden's Law Does

Unfortunately, Kayden is not the only child to die because of parental abuse. In the past decade in the U.S., abusive parents have killed over 750 children during the pendency of custody litigation. Part of the reason for this is that family courts do not adequately recognize or credit family violence, including sexual violence, to the extent necessary to protect children. Kayden's law seeks to rectify this problem in Pennsylvania by:

  • Ensuring that if there is a history of abuse, a finding of abuse by the court, or an ongoing risk of abuse, any custody order includes the safety conditions and restrictions necessary to protect the child;
  • Strengthening and adding to the factors involving the health and safety of the child among the other factors that a judge must consider in making custody and visitation decisions;
  • Mandating that any counsel appointed for a child due to allegations of abuse receives education and training related to child and domestic abuse; and
  • Encouraging the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts to develop and implement training programs for judges and relevant court personnel on child abuse, child sexual abuse, adverse childhood experiences, domestic violence, and its impact on children at different developmental stages.

In September of 2020, the Pennsylvania Senate Judiciary Committee approved Kayden's Law. It is now awaiting a full vote by the state senate.

How the LLF Law Firm Can Help With Your Custody Matter

Kayden's Law will go a long way in protecting children's rights if and when it is past. However, if you are facing a custody battle right now, you need someone who can fight for your child's best interests today.

Our Family Law Team cares passionately about children, particularly those who are victims of abuse or neglect. They will work tirelessly to ensure your children are protected and your family is safe no matter what. Call 888-535-3686 to schedule a private and confidential consultation for your custody case today.

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!


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