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New bill aims to eliminate child custody rights from rapists

Spokane parents understand that the bond between parent and child is one that is stronger than any other. The relationship is one chalked full of dedication, sacrifice and selflessness. After having a child, a parent's whole life can change. As a result of this bond and relationship, family law matters dealing with child custody can be some of the most difficult and heated cases in Washington court rooms.

Not all parental relationships should be given full standing, at least according to a recent bill introduced in the House of Representatives. The bill seeks to assist women who have been victims of sexual assault and rape from having to deal with custody issues with their assailants. The bill purposes that survivors have full custody of their children. The bill would help support women with children conceived from the assault to terminate all parental rights of the rapist. It is estimated that close to 11,000 women each year are faced with the decision whether to raise a child conceived from an assault. In many of the cases, the women are forced to face custody battles with assailants who seek custody of the children. Currently, 31 states have no custodial rights protection for victims and their children. Under the new proposed legislation, only 6 of the 19 states that currently afford mothers protections meet the proposed standards of the bill.

The termination of parental rights is typically something courts do not want to do. If anything, courts seek creative ways and encourage both parents play an active role in the lives of their children. However, not all cases are ideal, and there are instances where parental rights can be legally terminated. Each state carries different requirements in order to terminate a parental relationship, but it is generally one of the most potent legal devises a court has. Termination of the relationship can often be seen from a parent that has been abusive, negligent, sexually assaulted their child, abandoned their child, or if the parent suffers from mental illness, or long-term drug or alcohol induced incapacity, as well as multiple other grounds for termination.

The parent-child relationship is one that courts like to nurture and support. However there are times when circumstances dictate that a relationship should be terminated. In such cases, it is not an easy decision to make, however necessary it may be. An attorney can help explain the termination process as well as outline what Washington state law requires for the termination of parental rights to take place.

Source: Opposing Views, "Rape Survivor Child Custody Act Introduced In House, Aims To Strip Rapists Of Child Custody Rights," July 22, 2013

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