A. Kyle Berman of my office in Blue Bell, recently issues an alert about the Pennsylvania General Assembly’s amendment to the Child Protective Services Law (the CPSL). Kyle focuses his attention on criminal background checks, child abuse clearances, and how Act 153 requires all prospective employees, current employees, independent contractors and volunteers to get and renew criminal background checks and child abuse clearances on a three-year cycle.

This change to the Aact obviously affects employers, but it is also worth considering within a family law context. Pennsylvania custody cases now require that an affidavit be filled out and signed by litigants which identifies whether they or any member of their household has committed any one of a number of criminal offenses. This is a signed affidavit, so it is comparable to testifying before in court; if you lie, you run the risk of having sanctions levied against you. More importantly, if you lie on a criminal affidavit in a custody case, you can expect it to have major repercussions on both your custody schedule and your credibility with the  Court. People who lie about criminal offenses in their household are naturally assumed to be hiding other information. Since the CPSL now requires three year renewals of the criminal background clearance, in custody cases spanning several years, they could be useful items to subpoena.

If a litigant commits or is charged with a crime, they not disclose it in the midst of litigation. If they are subject to the CPSL, then obtaining that renewal could either verify the person’s clean record, or impeach them on failing to disclose the offense and ruin their credibility with the Court.