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Proposed law would help women terminate rapists' parental rights

The agreements to be made surrounding legal custody, visitation rights and other related topics can be complex and vary from case to case. No two set of circumstances are identical and, therefore, what is deemed to be in the best interests of the child in one situation may not be so in another, even if some facts are similar. Laws regarding child custody work to help identify the best environment for all children but they do not prevent disputes between parents.

The U.S. House of Representatives will vote on a potential new bill that, if approved, would make it easier for mothers of children conceived as a result of a rape to terminate fathers' parental rights. A female representative from Florida is sponsoring the bill, which is known as the Rape Survivor Chid Custody Act. A recent article indicates that there are more than 11,000 women in the United States each year who give birth to children after a rape and keep their children as opposed to giving them up for adoption or seeking abortions.

If passed, the bill would allow mothers greater rights in preventing rapist fathers from obtaining custody of their children. Currently, 31 states have no such legislation in place and of those that do have some laws regarding rapist fathers and parental rights, only six meet the new bill’s proposed terms.

The determination or termination of parental rights is a complex area of child custody. Women who have conceived children after a rape may be wise to consult with a family law attorney to learn their rights and the appropriate laws concerning their child’s welfare and custody.

Source: Opposing Views, “Rape Survivor Child Custody Act introduced in House, aims to strip rapists of child custody rights,” Jonathan Wolfe, July 26, 2013

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