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This depends on what you mean by "physical discipline." According to 23 PA § 6302, parents are allowed to use reasonable supervision and control to discipline children. According to 18 PA § 509, physical discipline is allowed provided it is not designed to cause or known to create a substantial risk of causing death, serious bodily injury, disfigurement, extreme pain, mental distress, or gross degradation.
CPS Standing in For Custody
This very ambiguous statutory law gives the Court wide discretion to make a decision on whether or not the parent's actions were proper. IF CPS files for temporary or permanent custody, then the Court would have to decide whether the force used was within the lawful boundaries both (as) as described above and (b) in general given the circumstances.
Generally speaking, the Court/CPS would almost always attempt to allow the parents to keep custody and may instead be satisfied with a parenting class and follow up CPS visits. Only very serious injuries or repeated beatings may result in CPS filing for custody.
Other Parent Standing in for Custody
The rules become even more ambiguous if the other parent wants to modify the decree and get primary custody. They would have to show that it is "in the best interest of the child." If so, then his actions may be used against you. However, the Court makes a decision in the end.
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