Should a rapist be able to sue for paternal rights?

It’s legal in 31 states.

I voted No. I wanted vote Other because, “What the fuck, seriously?” wasn’t available.

That’s frigging perverse if you ask me.

Yes, but the paternal rights should only be given if they are in the best interests of the child. It will only be in exceptionally peculiar cases that a child having contact with a rapist is in its best interests, e.g. child conceived due to isolated incident of marital rape; statutory or other “technical” rape; wrongfully convicted rapist, etc etc.

I don’t think this will apply to many rapes.

Perhaps if this is a genuine problem (which I doubt because I can’t imagine too many rapists are suing for this but what do I know) a procedure could be implemented whereby a judge has to certify the rapist as having a legally arguable claim before the victim is brought in to proceedings - this should stop 99% of harm to the victim caused by nuisance suits.

Depends on whether it’s a legitimate rape.

Yes, I think they should be able to. I think parenthood is one of the fundamentals of human existence, and it should only be denied when it is clearly goes against what is best for the child’s well being. The well-being of the should be the only thing taken into account with parents rights.

That said, I can’t think of any situations where having a relationship with their mother’s rapist would be in the best interests of the cild.

I disagree that the best interests of the child should automatically trump everyone else’s interests. Having to deal with her rapist as a coparent would be forcing a woman to have to suffer for the rape for the rest of her life, and significantly interfere with her ability to move past it. I would not toss that aside even if it was in the best interests of the child to have contact.

No. And on top of that they should still have to pay child support if the mother wants to accept it.

I would like to know more details about what exactly these laws are saying.

For example, I would think that it’s common sense that someone convicted of stranger rape with DNA evidence should not have custody or visitation. However, what about those situations where it’s a couple going through a bitter divorce with a very nasty custody battle and the woman makes an accusation of rape against her partner? In that kind of situation, I don’t think the answer is quite so black and white.
What level of evidence should you require before terminating someone’s parental rights?

I’ll second this sentiment exactly.

You can take that view if you like, but if you do so then I would hope you would also allow the father of a kid who, consistently since conception, has been advocating its abortion, be permitted to lose both his rights but also his responsibilities (i.e. child support)? If not, why not?

wtf is a “legitimate rape”? I felt skeevy enough talking about technical rapes but the idea there is such a thing a “legitimate rape” is fucking disgusting. I hope you meant something else?

This is the precise thing which kept me from answering the poll. Of COURSE a rapist shouldn’t be given the opportunity to re-victimize the woman for the rest of her life while they co-parent a child and I’m not even sure I want a rapist having much to do with a kid in the first place.

That said, the world is full of vindictive crazy people and I would be VERY concerned about how we intend to distinguish between being a rapist and being the victim of an ugly custody battle.

A conviction.

That is to say, I absolutely think that a convicted rapist should get the worst possible deal out of any sort of family court decision. Full responsibility for child support, no visitation rights. You rape someone, you lose at life.

But an accusation of rape absent a conviction? I’m not sure what role it should play in a custody dispute. What are the standards of evidence, in general, for family court?

Absolutely, no fucking way. If we’re going to talk about the child’s best interests, I believe that that it would be for the rapist NOT to have custody. Christ, I can’t imagine that people would even THINK that would benefit the kid. Not only does the kid’s mother have to deal with her rapist all over again, but she has to know that he’s involved with her kid? I don’t think so.

It’s a reference to a comment that was made by a politician recently.

Depends on if your Lawyer is Ally McBeal.

Read and be enlightened.

Are we talking about custody or visitation? Custody is a really high standard, but while visitation is much lower, it also bothers me, emotionally. However, I ask myself, if someone is convicted of rape should they automatically lose custody of/visitation rights towards any other kids they have? Except for the issue of the mother having to have contact with the father, I’m struggling to see the difference, ethically. If rape makes someone inherently unsuitable to be a father to one child, it seems like it would be true for all children. And when a man has physically assaulted a woman, he can usually still get supervised visitation–no one denies it on the grounds that it would be hard for the mother.

These are the scenarios I am imagining:

Bob rapes Suzie, she gets pregnant.
Bob has consensual sex with Suzie. She gets pregnant. Then he rapes her.

Should custody/visitation really be different in those two scenarios? And it could be weirder:

Bob has several children with Suzie. Then he rapes her, and another child is conceived.

Should the court decide differently for the last child? Finally:

Bob has children with Suzie, then rapes Jenny. Suzie divorces him.

Should that matter less than if it was Suzie he was raping?

That was my first reaction, but then I thought… what if the mother’s a complete fuckup in the parental department, like severe neglect/abuse/alcoholism/etc? And what if the father’s paid his debt to society and demonstrated remorse and tried to make amends?

It’s not unimaginable that there are situations when it might be a little more nuanced than just insult piled upon injury. Granted they are few and far-fetched, but I think they are worth considering.

Agreed, I need information before I can gin up the correct amount of recreation outrage.

Manda Jo, I’d give a little bit of weight to a pre-existing relationship wtih the kids. Granted, I’m leaning toward thinking that not having a dad will be psychologically better than hanging out with a rapist daddy. That said, my thoughts on your scenarios:

In both these cases, he has no pre-existing relationship with the kids, so he’s on the hook for child support and gets no visitation. If he doesn’t like it, I welcome him to build a time machine and go back in time and not commit the rape.

In both these cases, the pre-existing relationship with the kids might change the equation, depending on that relationship: despite being a despicable human being, could the rapist maybe be a good dad? If so, maybe that’s worth considering, but I’d put 100% of the onus on him to stay away from his victim in the first case (e.g., he’d need to hire someone to pick up and drop off the kids, so that Suzie wouldn’t need to see her rapist ever). In the last case, I’m not sure he’d need to take such drastic measures to keep away from his ex.