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Termination of Rapists' Parental Rights

Last Updated: 2016-02-05
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?4 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

Clear and Convincing Evidence

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

Guam^
Hawaii^

Yes

All

Yes

Conviction

Yes

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^

Yes

Some

Yes

Conviction

Yes. The mother may waive the right to receive child support if she wishes.

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

Nebraska^

Yes

All

Yes

Conviction

No

Yes

Nevada^

Yes

Some

Yes

Conviction

No

No

New Hampshire^

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^

Yes

All

N/A

Conviction

Possibly. See O.R.C. 3109.5

Yes

Oklahoma^

Yes

All

No

None Stipulated

No

No

Oregon^

Yes

All

No

Conviction

Yes

No

Pennsylvania^

Yes

All

No

None Stipulated

No

No

Puerto Rico^
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

Conviction

No

Yes

Vermont^

Yes

All

No

Clear and Convincing Evidence

Yes, if the Survivor Elects to Seek Child Support

Yes

Virgin Islands^
Virginia^

No

None

N/A

N/A

No

Yes

Washington^

Yes

All

Yes

Conviction

No

Yes

West Virginia^

Yes

Some

Yes

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. Not applicable, or N/A, is a designation used for states with no laws on this topic. In contrast, "Clear and Convincing" and "Conviction" represent the evidentiary burdens of proof a survivor must meet before her rapist's parental rights are terminated. Finally, "None Stipulated" means that state's law does not expressly state which evidentiary burden of proof is required. In these states, pursuant to *Santosky v Kramer 45 USC 745*, the default burden should be clear and convincing evidence.

5. 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.

6. Id.




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