The trauma associated with a sexual assault or sexual violence can be extremely volatile. There are physical, emotional, and psychological wounds that may be near impossible to heal without significant assistance or time to help the survivor of sexual assault to get past the event. What makes this trauma even more difficult and overwhelming is the birth of a child who was conceived as a result of this violent and criminal act.
Parental Rights of Assaulters in Many States
Legislation put into place is attempting to remedy the effects that come from the birth of a child conceived as a result of sexual assault. In about half of the states, there are little to no protections of the mother against her sexual assaulter who may want to have a relationship with the child as the child’s father. Many of these states permit not only custodial rights, but also visitation rights, forcing the survivor of the sexual assault to maintain a relationship with her assaulter. Some states even give the father the right to prohibit the mother from putting the child up for adoption.
New Legislation to Cut Down Assaulters’ Parental Rights: Bringing Power Back to Survivors of Sexual Assault
State laws and legislation are starting to emerge which will enable the mother of the child who was conceived from sexual assault to not only cut the father out of the picture completely by terminating his parental rights, but also assert the right to cut the father’s family out, to prohibit the father to inherit from the child, and to decline child support from the father, among other actions.
Illinois’s Comprehensive Legislation of Survivors’ Rights
Illinois has been one of the states to spearhead significant reform with regards to the role of a father who sexually assaulted the mother of his child. On January 1, 2014, IL Public Act 098-0476 became effective and broadened existing Illinois law to provide extensive rights to the mother in the face of the assaulter’s rights. First and foremost, it provides that the mother-survivor no longer has to wait until there has been a conviction levied against her attacker; it provides that the protections may extend to someone who was found by clear and convincing evidence to have committed the non-consensual, sexual criminal act which led to the fathering of the child. In addition, the law also ensures that even if the parental rights of the father have been terminated as a result of the law, the father is still required to provide child support and maintenance, but the mother has the right to decline this support.
Another aspect of the law provides that the assaulter’s family does not have standing to assert a claim of rights with regards to the child. This extends to the assaulter’s parents, siblings, grandparents, or other relationship which may normally attempt to bring claim pursuant to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act.
Finally, the Act provides that the father is not entitled to any inheritance or other rights with regards to the child without the consent of the mother.
Reassertion and Reestablishment of Power: The Purpose Behind The Changes
The Illinois provision provides effective legislation which gives the mother an affirmative right to terminate the parental rights of the father who assaulted her. This legislation is extremely comprehensive and provides significant protection and power to a survivor of sexual assault who may feel that her rights and power were violated as a result of the sexual assault. The most important aspect for a survivor’s recovery is providing her the ability to reassert herself and reestablish her power, especially with regards to the child conceived as a result of such a horrendous act.
Experienced Family Law Attorneys in DuPage County
Whether you are a survivor of sexual assault or a parent looking to terminate another’s parental rights, it is important to speak with experienced family law attorneys at Mevorah Law Offices LLC to understand more the ramifications of these legal actions. Contact our experienced DuPage County family law attorneys today for a free and confidential consultation.
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