Parental Rights
Virginia

Last Updated: March 2020
Question Answer

Does the state allow for termination or limitation of parental rights when a child is born from rape?

Yes

Does the state require a conviction for the sexual offense to terminate or limit the rapist’s parental rights?

Yes

May the state terminate or limit parental rights when there was a sexual assault that led to the birth of the child, but no conviction?

No

What parental rights can be terminated or limited?

Terminated: 

Custody

Visitation

Are there any exceptions to the termination or limitation of a rapist’s parental rights?

Reinstatement – the child may petition for reinstatement of terminated parental rights when that child is 14 years of age or older

What other rights may be impacted by terminating a rapist’s parental rights?

Right to Consent to Adoption - no consent from rapist parent required to adopt child when child born from rape

What is the procedure for termination or limitation of parental rights in these circumstances?

Victim must petition the court

What proof do you have to show to terminate or limit the rapist parent’s parental rights?

Must show by Clear and Convicing Evidence that the termination is in the best interests of the child, and that rapist parent was convicted of a felony sexual assault, or the rapist parent “subjected any child to aggravated circumstances” which includes sexual torture, sexual abuse and sexual assault.  

Upon this finding, the rapist parent will not be considered a person of legitimate interest. The term “legitimate interest” shall be broadly construed to accommodate the best interest of the child.

Are there any time limits for when a petition must be filed to terminate or limit the rapist parent’s rights?

N/A

Does the law apply to both adult victims and underage victims?

Yes

Does the law have any exceptions for married or co-habitating victims?

N/A

Can a court require the rapist parent to pay child support after parental rights have been terminated?

No 

Statutory Citations

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




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