When a man and a woman have a child together, both parties have rights when it comes to custody of the child. In many cases, fathers experience more difficulty with gaining custody, as they may have to prove parentage before they can even seek to obtain any form of custody. Along with proving paternity, the court may also consider several factors before custody is granted to the father, but even then, custody is not a guarantee. Although men have rights and are allowed to pursue custody of their child, a new law says that fathers’ rights s may not be considered in cases of rape.
The Rape Survivor Child Custody Act is the new law that will prevent rapists from gaining custody of their child who was the result of the attack. There have been mothers who do not believe in abortion, so they rejected that option and went on to give birth to the child who was conceived during the rape. They have later had to deal with their rapist seeking custody of the child. In some states, the father needed to be convicted of rape in order to deny him custody, but there was no conviction, so rape victims and their children were left unprotected and fathers had the chance to gain custody.
This new law will use clear and convincing evidence to determine if rapists’ parental rights will be terminated or if custody may be granted. Using this standard will allow more women to be protected because a rape conviction is not necessary for the court to deny the father custody.
Currently, Florida is one of the few states to have passed this law. With other states working to get the law approved, or at least a law offering rape victims similar protection from their rapists, more women will be protected and free to live a life without further contact from their attacker.