Illinois seeks to restrict parental rights for accused rapists

On behalf of The Walters Law Group, Ltd. posted in Child Custody on Wednesday, April 24, 2013.

According to an Illinois representative, there may be as many as 30,000 pregnancies each year that result from rape. In some cases, these women inexplicably find themselves fighting with their rapists for child custody. The Illinois legislature is currently discussing a bill that would make it easier for women in such a situation to prevent their abusers from obtaining custody.

Currently, a woman can only restrict visitation and custody rights against an attacker if he has been convicted of the rape. If the new law passes, the woman could restrict the father’s rights with only clear and convincing evidence of the rape, even in the absence of a criminal conviction. Supporters hope that the law would prevent situations in which an aggressor uses the threat of seeking custody as a way of trying to convince the victim not to seek justice for her attack.

The bill is sponsored by Democratic Representative Ann Williams of Chicago, but it has received support from both parties. The Illinois House of Representatives passed the measure by a vote of 111-0. It must then pass the Senate before being forwarded to the governor. It was not stated whether the governor intends to sign the bill if it is received for approval.

Child custody disputes can be emotionally charged. In cases where the biological father of a child is accused of the sexual assault of the mother, that can make the situation more emotional and more complicated for everyone involved. A family law attorney may be able to help mothers in this situation obtain sole custody of their children and collect child support.

Source: CBS Chicago, “Bill Would Help Women Avoid Custody Battles With Alleged Rapists,” April 11, 2013