Deciding to keep and raise a child conceived through sexual assault is a difficult enough situation. However, some perpetrators make things worse by demanding custody or visitation rights with the kids. Unfortunately, since the government isn't keen on cutting off children's access to their parents, it can be challenging keeping a rapist away from your child, but here are two things you can try.
Terminate Parental Rights
Your best option in this situation is to get the person's parental rights terminated. When this occurs, the parent loses all legal rights to the child, including visitation and custody. Additionally, you won't have to consult the person whenever you want to move with the child or advise the individual of your whereabouts. As a consequence, though, you won't be able to demand the person pay child support, even if the person has plenty of money and assets to contribute.
While this is the ideal solution, terminating a parent's rights is not easy. Even if the parent is a convicted criminal, the court will only remove his or her legal rights in a few situations, such as:
- There's a risk the parent will hurt the child.
- The parent is unfit to provide care and support.
- The parent has made minimal effort to establish a relationship.
- The parent neglected or abandoned the child.
In some states, a sexual assault that results in the conception of a child will also qualify, but only if the perpetrator was convicted of the crime. In fact, all of the reasons above require you provide adequate proof backing up your claims, which may be difficult depending on the situation. It's best to work with a family law attorney, like those at Law Offices of Lynda Latta, LLC, if you want to pursue this option. The lawyer can provide guidance and employ a variety of methods to help you achieve the outcome you want.
Ask for Supervised Visitation
Another way you can limit a rapist's access to the child he or she conceived is to request supervised visitation. As you can imagine, this isn't the most ideal solution since the person can still have contact with the child. However, the person's interactions with the child are monitored by a third party to prevent the perpetrator from hurting him or her. Additionally, supervised visitation adds a level of inconvenience and complexity to visitations that may scare off perpetrators who don't want to go through all the trouble just to see their kids.
Like with terminating parental rights, you must provide the court with a valid reason for the supervised visitation and supply adequate proof of your claims. Some acceptable reasons the court will consider include parental abuse, incarceration, emotional harm, substance abuse, and even the child's request.
Again, it's best to have a family law attorney help you file the required paperwork as well as gather the evidence you need to make your case.
For more information about this or other family legal issues, contact an attorney.