Pennsylvania Family Law and Divorce
Lisa Marie Vari & Associates, P.C.

Proposed Bill Would Terminate Custody Rights of Rapists

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A Bill that would terminate the child custody rights of rapists has been proposed in the Pennsylvania Senate and House of Representatives. The Bill, titled the Rape Survivor Child Custody and Support Act, would allow courts to terminate the parental rights of a convicted rapist while maintaining the rapist's obligation to pay child support. In today's blog, your Allegheny County child custody lawyers provide more details about this Act.

Under current Pennsylvania law, a convicted rapist can maintain parental rights over a child conceived through rape. The Bill, which is being sponsored by State Senator Randy Vulakovich (R-Allegheny) and Representative Joe Hackett (R-Delaware), would ensure that this is no longer the case and that survivors of sexual assault are protected.

"If a victim of a rape decides to keep a child who was conceived because of the result of a rape, she could be forced under state law to constantly interact with a rapist on a regular basis if he demands visitation rights," Vulakovich, who is currently seeking co-sponsors for the Bill, said.

The lack of protection offered to victims of this horrible crime is something which the new Bill is hoping to address. Under the current law, a rapist's parental rights are only terminated pending adoption of the child, in which case the offender is no longer required to pay child support. If the mother does not want to put the child up for adoption and the father wants to have a relationship with the child, he is able to do so.

Though it is rare for a rapist to try to enforce their parental rights, there have been situations in which they do attempt to establish a relationship with the child. In these situations not only does a mother have to face the man who sexually assaulted her, she may also be forced to allow that person to spend time, unsupervised, with the child. For mothers, there is nothing worse. And that is exactly the reason why this Bill has come to light, to protect these women.

The Bill would protect mothers and provide them with the comfort of knowing that the man that violated them will not have a role in the life of the child. Though it still needs more suppport, it is expected to reach the governor's desk as early as this April.

For more, visit: http://wesa.fm/post/new-bill-would-end-child-custody-rights-rapists

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