Rape is always tragic and life changing, especially if the victim is impregnated. Many brave women choose to keep the children after the rape. However, the law gives both biological parents an opportunity to be a parent to the children. If you have children with your rapist, then he or she may have child visitation to your children.
What If I Want Full Custody of the Children?
You will need to file for a full child custody hearing as soon as possible. If there is domestic violence, you can request an emergency hearing to expedite the process. Although full custody is only temporary, you can re-request it once the term is over.
What If I Don’t Want to Give Visitation Rights?
At the child custody hearing, you may request the judge to deny visitation rights. But be prepared to present evidence why visitation is detrimental to your child.
What If the DA Is Bringing Charges against the Rapist?
In most jurisdictions, pending criminal charges is a factor against a parent having custody of the child. If the parent is serving time in prison, it will be impossible for the parent to maintain physical custody, if not legal custody, of the child. If the rapist seeks child custody, the rapist will be facing an uphill battle in the family court.
What If the Rapist Offers to Drop the Custody Case in Exchange for Dropping Criminal Charges?
Some rapists may use their parental rights as leverage over the DA’s key witness, the mother/victim. Some rapists may seek child custody of the child, only to offer the mother an opportunity to drop the custody battle. In exchange, the defendant wants the mother/victim to persuade the DA to drop the charges.
If this occurs, the mother/victim may complain to the family and criminal court that the defendant is using the custody litigation as a means of harassment rather than an actual good faith effort to establish parental rights.
The Rapist Is Awarded Visitation, Now What?
Unfortunately, you cannot ignore court orders and prevent your rapist from seeing your children. Because safety is of the utmost concern here, it is best to tell someone about your whereabouts. Also, you should create a backup plan in case your rapist attempts to abuse you.
But if your former partner does abuse you, verbally or physically, please record in detail. You may even file a police report. The key here is to collect enough evidence for another court hearing to revoke visitation rights or to issue a temporary restraining order.
Do I Need a Lawyer?
You may possibly need child visitation lawyer to concerning visitation rights in the context of rape. A lawyer will file your case and will serve as your advocate.