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Termination of Rapists' Parental Rights

Last Updated: December 2017
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

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

Alaska

Yes

No

Terminated: Custody; Visitation 

N/A

See, AS § 25.23.180( c)(3)- Relinquishment and termination of parent and child relationships;

AS § 25.24.150. Judgments for custody; supervised visitation

Yes

Arizona

Yes

Yes

Terminated: Parenting time; Joint/sole decision-making 

Victim, or any person or agency that has a legitimate interest in the welfare of a child, must petition the court.

See, A.R.S. § 25-416 Sexual assault conviction; effect on rights’;

AZ ST § 8-533. Petition; who may file; grounds.;

A.R.S. § 25-501(f) Duties of support; exemption

Yes

Arkansas

Yes

Yes

Terminated: 

Custody;

Visitation;

Other contact

Automatic termination upon conviction for §5-14-103

See, A.C.A. § 9-10-121.a Termination of certain parental rights for putative fathers convicted of rape

Yes

California

Yes

Yes

Terminated: 

Custody

Visitation

Victim must petition the court

See, West's Ann.Cal.Fam.Code § 3030.b, Sex offenders; murderers; custody and visitation; child support; disclosure of information relating to custodial parent;

West's Ann.Cal.Fam.Code § 3030. (d)

Yes

Colorado

Yes

No

Terminated: 

Parenting Time

Decision-making responsibilities

Inheritance: No right to inherit from child

Right to notice; or Standing to object: no rights to notice or standing in adoption proceding of child in question

Victim must petition in juvenile court

See, C.R.S.A. § 19-5-105.7 Termination of parent-child legal relationship in a case of an allegation that a child was conceived as a result of sexual assault but in which no conviction occurred--legislative declaration—definitions.;

C.R.S.A. § 19-5-105.5. Termination of parent-child legal relationship upon a finding that the child was conceived as a result of sexual assault--legislative declaration—definitions;

C.R.S.A. § 19-5-105. Proceeding to terminate parent-child legal relationship;  

C.R.S.A. § 19-4-102. Parent and child relationship defined;

C.R.S.A. § 19-5-105.5(6) and 19-5-105.7(7)

Yes

Connecticut

Yes

No

Terminated: 

Custody

Visitation

Victim must petition the Court

C.G.S.A. § 45a-717. Termination of parental rights. Conduct of hearing. Investigation and report. Grounds for termination

Yes

Delaware

Yes. 

Yes

Limited: 

Visitation by Rapist ParentNo visitation only if rapist is convicted of rape or sexual assault in 1st or 2nd Degrees with conviction.

Primary Custodianship and Unsupervised Visitation by Registered Sex Offenders - may not be primary custodian and shall not have unsupervised visitation.

Victim must petition the court 

13 Del.C. § 724A. Rebuttable presumption against unsupervised visitation, custody or residence of a child to a sex offender

Yes

District of Columbia

Yes

Yes

Terminated:

Custody

Visitation

Decision-making authority

Victim must petition court

DC ST § 16-914.k Custody of children.

Yes

Florida

Yes

No

Terminated:

Custody

Visitation

Victim must petition the court

West's F.S.A. § 39.806. Grounds for termination of parental rights

West's F.S.A. § 39.0139. Visitation or other contact; restrictions; 

West's F.S.A. § 775.21. The Florida Sexual Predators Act

Yes

Georgia

Yes

No

Terminated:

Custody 

Visitation

Victim must petition the court

GA ST § 15-11-233. Termination of parental rights

Ga. Code Ann. § 15-11-310. Statutory grounds for termination; best interests of child

GA ST § 15-11-2.(G) Definitions

Ga Code Ann., § 15-11-323. Reinstatement of parental rights

Yes

Guam
Hawaii

Yes

No

Terminated:

Custody

Visitation

Access

Guardianship

Inheritance

Victim must petition the family court

See, HRS § 571-61(5)Termination of parental rights; petition;

HRS § 587A-34. Reinstatement of parental rights

Yes

Idaho

Yes

No

Terminated: 

Custody

Visitation

Decision Making Authorities

Victim must petition the court.

See, I.C. § 16-2005(2)(a) Conditions under which termination may be granted

 I.C. § 16-2011. Effect of decree.

Yes

Illinois

Yes

No

Limited: 

Parental responsibilities

Parenting time

Inheritance

Victim must petition the court

See, IL ST CH 750 § 46/622. Allocation of parental responsibilities or parenting time prohibited to men who father through sexual assault or sexual abuse

Yes. However, a minor victim may not consent to allowing a rapist parent to have parental responsibilities or parenting time

Indiana

Yes

No

Limited: 

Custody

Control

Parenting time

Victim must file verified petition in Juvenile or Probate Court

See, I.C. 31-35-3.5-3. Verified petition to terminate filed by victim parent.

IN ST 31-35-3.5-5 Content of petition.

I.C. 31-35-3.5-6 Evidence of rape and conception

I.C. 31-35-3.5-7. Court termination of parent-child relationship; findings,

I.C. 31-35-3.5-9 Emergency custody order removing child

I.C. 31-35-6-4 Rights, privileges and obligations of parent and child upon termination of relationship

Yes. 

The law imposes distinctions based on age. See above distinctions on Timing Limitations above.

Iowa

Yes

No

Terminated: 

Custody

Visitation

Decision making authority

Victim must petition the court

I.C.A. § 232.116 Grounds for termination

Yes

Kansas

Yes

No

Terminated: 

Custody

Visitation 

Victim must petition the Court, or if child is ward of the state, then the state may move.

See, K.S.A. 38-2271.A.12 Presumption of unfitness, when; burden of proof

K.S.A. 38-2269.e Factors to be considered in termination of parental rights appointment of permanent custodian

KS ST 59-2136. (h)(1)(F)Relinquishment and adoption; proceedings to terminate parental rights.

Yes

Kentucky

Yes

Yes

Terminated:

Custody

Visitation 

Automatically removed upon conviction

See, KRS § 405.028. Custody, visitation, and inheritance rights denied parent convicted of a felony sexual offense from which victim delivered a child; waiver; child support obligation

Yes

Louisiana

Yes

Yes

Terminated:

Custody

Vistation 

The victims or district attorney must petition the court

See, LSA-Ch.C. Art. 1015 Grounds; termination of parental rights;

No

Maine

Yes

Yes

Terminated:

Custody

Visitation

Victim must petition the Court where they last received an order of protection, or may file a termination petition in probate court, or District Court

See, 22 M.R.S.A. § 4055.1-B Grounds for termination; see also

19-A M.R.S.A. § 1658. Termination of parental rights and responsibilities in cases involving sexual assault

19-A M.R.S.A. § 1658.4. Exception. 

22 M.R.S.A. § 4059. Reinstatement of parental rights

Yes.

However, the court allows certain minors in certain cases of statutory rape to provide evidence to refute a parent’s petition to the court to terminate parental rights of the father.

Maryland

Yes

No

N/A

Victim, or the child's court-appointed guardian, or the child's court-appointed attorney must petition the Court

See, MD Code, Family Law, § 5-1402. Termination of parental rights after conviction of nonconsensual sexual conduct that resulted in conception of child;

§ 5-1403.(B)(1) – (2) Action for termination

Yes

Massachusetts

Yes

Yes

Terminated:

Visitation

Victim must petition the municipal and the probate courts, or the family court departments of the trial court shall have concurrent jurisdiction 

M.G.L.A. 209C §3. Paternity and support actionsjurisdictionenforcement of Priororders or judgmentsjuvenile court commitment proceedingsparents convicted of first degree murder;

M.G.L.A. 209C § 18. Judgments or orders of support; enforcement

Yes

Michigan

Yes

No

Terminated: 

Custody

Parenting Time

Victim must petition the court; or “the agency, (b) the child, (c) the guardian, legal custodian, or representative of the child, (d) a concerned person as defined in MCL 712A.19b(6), (e) the state children's ombudsman

M.C.L.A. 722.25 Child custody dispute; presumptions and burden of proof; award; parent convicted of criminal sexual conduct

 M.C.L.A. 722.27a. Parenting time; presumptions and burden of proof; frequency, duration, and type; factors; order; terms and conditions; ex parte interim orders; deployment of parent

Yes

Minnesota

No

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

Mississippi

No

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

Missouri

Yes

Yes

Terminated: 

Custody

Visitation

Victim must petition the Juvenile Officer who will petition the court after a fact-finding investigation

See, V.A.M.S. 211.447(5)(5) Petition to terminate parental rights filed, when--juvenile court may terminate parental rights, when--investigation to be made--grounds for termination

Yes

Montana

Yes

All

Terminated: 

Custody

Visitation

Victim must petition the court

See, MT ST 41-3-801. Petition for termination--criteria—process.

Yes.

Law permits a minor victim to bring forward a petition with the help of a parent or guardian.

Nebraska

Yes

Yes

Terminated: 

Custody

Visitation

The state or the victim must petition the court

NE ST § 43-292. Termination of parental rights; grounds.

No. Underage victims only.

Nevada

Yes

Some

Terminated:

Custody

Victim must petition the court

NV ST 128.105. Grounds for terminating parental rights: Considerations; required findings,

NRS 128.110. Order terminating parental rights; preference for placement of child with certain relatives and siblings of child; period for completion of search for relative.

128.190. Restoration of parental rights: Hearing; required findings to grant petition; effect of order restoring parental rights

Yes

New Hampshire

Yes

No

Terminated: 

Custody

Visitation

Decision-making authority

Victim must petition the court

See, N.H. Rev. Stat. § 170-C:5-a, Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship in Cases of Sexual Assault.

NS St 170-C:4 Petition.

NH ST § 170-C:2 Definitions.,

Yes

New Jersey

Yes

Yes

Limited:

Custody

Visitation

Victim parent or a guardian of the child or the Division of Child Protection and Permanency must petition the Court.

See, N.J.S.A. 9:2-4.1 9:2-4.1. Custody and visitation denied to person fathering a child through rape; obligation to support minor child unaffected

Yes

New Mexico

Yes

Yes

Custody and visitation

Victim must petition the court. 

N. M. S. A. § 40-16-1. Termination of parental rights; conception resulting from criminal sexual penetration

Yes

New York

Yes

Yes

Terminated:

Custody

Visitation

Victim must petition the court.

N.Y. Dom. Rel. § 240.(1-c)(b) and (c) Custody and child support;      orders of protection;

N.Y. Dom. Rel. § 240(1)(a) Custody and child support; orders of protection

Yes

North Carolina

Yes

Yes

Terminated: 

Custody

Visitation

Victim must petition the court

See, N.C.G.S.A. § 7B-111. Grounds for terminating parental rights

NC ST § 7B-1112. Effects of termination order

N.C.G.S.A § 7B-1104, Petition or motion,

N.C.G.S.A. § 7B-1109. Adjudicatory hearing on termination

Yes

North Dakota

No

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

Ohio

Yes

Yes

Terminated:

Custody

Visitation

Victim must petition the Court to establish the offender as the parent and then petition to terminate rapist’s parental rights.

See, OH ST § 3109.501 Action by Victim to Establish Offender as Parent of Child Conceived as Result of Offense

OH ST § 3109.504 Prohibition Against Order Granting Parental Rights to Offender; Termination of Order upon Notice

Yes

Oklahoma

Yes

No

Terminated:

Custody

Visitation

Decision-making authority

Right to benefit from child's earnings

Victim must petition the court.

See, OK ST T. 10A § 1-4-904(2)(B)(11). Termination of parental rights in certain situations,.

10A Okl.St.Ann. § 1-4-906.Effect of termination of parental rights

Yes

Oregon

Yes

All

Terminated: 

Custody

Visitation

Victim must petition the court

OR ST § 419B.510, 419B.510. Child conceived as result of act leading to conviction for rape; termination of parental rights

Yes

Pennsylvania

Yes

No

Terminated:

Custody

Visitation

Victim parent, an agency or an individual acting in loco parentis must petition the court

See, 23 Pa.C.S.A. § 2511(7) and (11) Grounds for involuntary termination

23 Pa.C.S.A. § 2521. Effect of decree of termination

Yes

Puerto Rico
Rhode Island

Yes

Some

Limited: 

Custody

Visitation

Victim must petition the court.

See, RI ST § 15-5-16- Custody of children

RI ST § 15-5-16-Alimony and Counsel Fees--Custody of children

RI ST § 15-7-4. Petition to adopt--Court having jurisdiction.

Yes

South Carolina

Yes

Yes

No

Victim must petition the court

See, SC ST § 63-7-2570(11)- Grounds

Law allows for parental rights to be granted if a sentencing court “discovers” that the sex that resulted in conception was consensual, and both parties are under the age of 18 and older than 14.

South Dakota

Yes

No

Limit or Terminate: 

Custody

Visitation

Victim must petition the court.

See, SD ST § 25-4A-20-Prohibition, revocation, or restriction of visitation rights of person causing conception by rape or incest;

SD ST § 25-4A-2-Written request for order to show cause for violation of visitation or custody decree

SD ST § 25-4A-2-Consent of child's parents required for adoption, Court waiver of consent

SDCL § 25-4A-24. Factors for consideration on request for joint physical custody; 

SDCL § 25-4A-26. No presumption of joint physical custody

SDCL § 25-7-6.1. Obligation of parents to support child--Liability of absent parent--Continued absence from the home

Yes

Tennessee

Yes

Yes

Terminated: 

Custody

Visitation

Victim must petition the court.

See, TN ST § 36-1-113(g)(10)(A)- Termination of parental rights

TN ST § 37-1-147- Termination of parental rights

Yes

Texas

Yes

No

Terminated: 

Custody

Visitation

Inheritance

Victim must petition the court.

See, TX FAMILY § 161.007- Termination When Pregnancy Results from Criminal Act

TX FAMILY § 151.001- Rights and duties of parent

V.T.C.A., Family Code § 161.206(b) Order Terminating Parental Rights

Yes

Utah

Yes

Yes

Limited: 

Custody

Parenting Time

Denial of rights may occur upon conviction for sexual offense. The state statute applies to nearly all sexual offenses in the Utah penal code except forSection 401.1 Sexual abuse of a minor. Section 401.2 Unlawful sexual conduct with a 16- or 17-year-old.

Any interested party may file a petition to terminate the parental rights of a rapist.

See, UT ST § 76-5-414- Child conceived as a result of sexual offense--Custody and parent-time

U.C.A. 1953 § 78A-6-511. Court disposition of child upon termination--Posttermination reunification

U.C.A. 1953 § 78A-6-508. Evidence of grounds for termination

If victim is a minor, then parental rights may be terminated, however, exceptions may apply to certain cases of statutory rape, including Section 401.1 Sexual abuse of a minor. Section 401.2 Unlawful sexual conduct with a 16- or 17-year-old.

Vermont

Yes

Yes

Termination:

Custody

Visitation

Victim must petition the Court.

See, VT ST T. 15 § 665(f)Rights and responsibilities order; best interests of the child

VT ST T. 13 § 3252-sexual assault

VT ST T. 15 § 1088 Expedited enforcement of child custody determination

Exception applies in a case of statutory rape between an individual less than 19 years old and the other individual is at least 15 years old, and the sexual act was otherwise consensual.

Virgin Islands
Virginia

Yes

Yes

Terminated: 

Custody

Visitation

Victim must petition the court

See, VA CODE ANN. § 16.1-283 TERMINATION OF RESIDUAL PARENTAL RIGHTS

VA CODE ANN. § 63.2-1202. Parental, or agency, consent required; exceptions

VA CODE ANN § 20-124.1. DEFINITIONS


VT ST T. 15 § 665-RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES ORDER; BEST INTERESTS OF THE CHILD

Yes

Washington

Yes

No

Terminated:

Residential time

Decision-making responsibilities

Inheritance

Victim must petition the court

See, WA ST 26.26.760(7)- sexual assault resulting in pregnancy-parental rights and responsibilities

WA ST 13.34.132- Requirements

Yes

West Virginia

Yes

Yes

Limited: 

Custodial responsibility

Parenting time

Victim must petition the court

See, W. Va. Code, § 48-9-209a. Child conceived as result of sexual assault or sexual abuse by a parent; rights of a biological parent convicted of sexual assault or abuse; post-conviction cohabitation; rebuttable presumption upon separation or divorce

 

WV ST § 48-9-209a(a)-custody and parenting time

Yes

Wisconsin

Yes

No

No

Victim must petition the court

See, WI ST 48.415(9)-grounds for involuntary termination of parental rights

W.S.A. 48.42. Procedure

Yes. (See also the No Notice of Termination Hearing exemption above)

Wyoming

No

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A


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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