Utah bill prevents rapists from seeking child custody
One often unexplored area of family law concerns victims who have been raped and have a child from that experience. While the majority of convicted rapists would not be likely to pursue child custody in a court of law, it is possible for them to do so in Utah. A person who fathered a child through this violent act might decide that they want to build a relationship with the child and it is quite feasible that someone may be able to convince a judge that their presence in that child's life would be in the best interests of the child.
However, a Utah bill being presented this year will close that legal option, protecting victims of rape from being essentially re-victimized by such action. The bill does, however, include a provision that allows the convicted rapist the opportunity to seek legal custody under narrow guidelines which imply that the victim is willing to co-parent the child with the person.
The sponsor of the bill introduced it after learning that there was no law in Utah to prevent a person convicted of rape to petition a court for custody of a child they created. Another lawmaker was also unaware that there was no such law already in place. A case involving this kind of scenario is happening in another state and spurred the sponsor into action when he heard of it.
While the bill concerns a person convicted of the crime of rape, it does not appear to prevent someone who was only accused of rape from taking legal action and asking for physical custody. Anyone who is involved in a cu stody issue may want to talk to an attorney about their case.