Termination1 of Rapists' Parental Rights Laws


Last Updated: 17-Dec-13 04:37 PM Printable PDF
State2 Does the state allow for termination of rapists' parental rights3 over any child born from that rape? Can all, some, or none of these parental rights be terminated? Are there exceptions to the laws which allow for termination of rapists' parental rights? Does the rapist have to be convicted before his parental rights are terminated, or if not is there a separate burden of proof required? Does the state require that rapists pay child support even after parental rights have been terminated? Does the state allow for restrictions on rapists' adoptive rights?
Alabama No None N/A N/A No No
Alaska Yes All Yes None Stipulated No Yes
Arizona No None N/A N/A No No
Arkansas Yes Some N/A Conviction Yes No
California Yes Some Yes Conviction No No
Colorado Yes All No Conviction Yes Yes
Connecticut Yes Some Yes Conviction No Yes
Delaware Yes Some No Conviction No No
District of Columbia No None N/A N/A No No
Florida Yes All No Clear and Convincing Evidence No Yes
Georgia No None N/A N/A No No
Hawaii No None N/A N/A No No
Idaho Yes All No None Stipulated No Yes
Illinois Yes All No Clear and Convincing Evidence Yes Yes
Indiana Yes Some Yes N/A No Yes
Iowa Yes Some No Conviction No No
Kansas Yes All Yes Conviction No Yes
Kentucky No None N/A N/A No No
Louisiana Yes All No None Stipulated No No
Maine Yes All No Conviction No No
Maryland No None N/A N/A No No
Massachusetts No None N/A N/A No No
Michigan Yes Some Yes Conviction No No
Minnesota No None N/A N/A No Yes
Mississippi No None N/A N/A No No
Missouri Yes All No Conviction No Yes
Montana Yes All No Conviction No Yes
Nebraska4 Yes All Yes Conviction No Yes
Nevada Yes Some Yes Conviction No No
New Hampshire5 Yes All No Conviction No No
New Jersey Yes Some Yes Conviction No No
New Mexico No None N/A N/A No Yes
New York No None N/A N/A No Yes
North Carolina Yes All Yes Conviction No No
North Dakota No None N/A N/A No No
Ohio No None N/A N/A No Yes
Oklahoma Yes All No None Stipulated No No
Oregon Yes All No Conviction Yes No
Pennsylvania Yes All No None Stipulated No No
Rhode Island No None N/A N/A No No
South Carolina Yes All Yes Conviction No Yes
South Dakota Yes Some No None Stipulated No Yes
Tennessee Yes All Yes Conviction No No
Texas Yes All No Conviction No No
Utah Yes Some Yes N/A No Yes
Vermont No None N/A N/A No No
Virginia No None N/A N/A No Yes
Washington Yes All Yes Conviction No Yes
West Virginia No None N/A N/A Partially requires. Incarceration for rape in which a child was conceived is not an excuse for failing to support the child. See W. Va. Code Ann § 48-22-306. No
Wisconsin Yes All No Conviction or evidence produced during a fact finding hearing, the procedure and manner for which is described under Wis. Stat. § 48.424. No No
Wyoming No None N/A N/A No Yes

1. Instead of the word "termination" some states may use language which "restricts," "prohibits," "shall not grant" and/or "denies," among many other words, a rapist's parental rights. For the purposes of this database, the word "termination" and any variations thereof should be interpreted to mean any instance in which a state law denies or does not grant, in any form and for any period of time, the parental rights of a rapist because of the rapist's crime.

2. The information presented in this summary and on our website regarding the termination of rapists' parental rights is intended only as a general overview of each state's laws on the topic. There are additional aspects to each state's laws on this subject which are not included here--including who may petition for termination, when this petition may be filed, whether laws addressing this issue apply retroactively, and whether the termination is permanent or temporary, among others. Additionally, there may be alternate interpretations of the state laws presented here. For further information, please see RAINN's legal disclaimer on our state law databases.

3. States use varying definitions and terminology regarding the exact meaning of the phrase "parental rights." Unless otherwise mentioned in this summary or elsewhere on our website, for the purposes of our general overview on this topic "parental rights" refers to a parent's custody, visitation, inheritance and access rights, as well as a parent's legal right to dictate how a child is raised, including but not limited to the type of education the child receives and his or her religious upbringing.

4. This state's law is not a rape-conception law designed specifically to prevent rapist fathers from asserting parental rights over children conceived from their crimes. Instead, the law in question provides for the termination of certain parental rights of any parent convicted of sexual assault against the other parent. Because of the significant overlap between this state's law and those written specifically as rape-conception laws, this state's law merits inclusion.

5. Id.

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This project was supported by Grant No. 2007-TA-AX-K019 awarded by the Office on Violence Against Women and grant No. 2007-VF-GX-K030 awarded by the Office for Victims of Crime, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, conclusions, and recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women or Office for Victims of Crime.