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Barbara L. Jouette, Attorney, P.C.
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Rapists have fewer routes to child custody in Texas

A person who has committed the grievous crime of rape is likely to pose a hazard to the well-being of any child born of that crime. In some states, however, rapists are able to get child custody for children they fathered while raping the mother. In Texas, some legislation does exist to protect children from being in the custody of rapists.

A recent new story of a man who was awarded joint custody of a child born of a woman he was convicted of raping has news media discussing the topic and examining the laws surrounding the issue. As of this year, seven states do not have any laws in place that would prevent rapists from claiming legal custody of their biological children. The Maryland legislature in particular has failed for the ninth time to pass any law to prevent that from happening in the state. 

In Texas, a law does exist regarding this issue. The Texas Family Code allows a court to terminate parental rights of a rapist over his child. The court must prove "clear and convincing evidence" to prove that the child was a product of the rape and that the termination of custody rights is "in the best interest of the child."

The Texas law requires a lower standard of proof. For instance, in some crimes, the facts must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt. The Texas standard is lower in order to err on the side of safety for the child. A person who does not wish for her rapist to have a child custody claim over her child may decide that she needs legal help. An experienced family law attorney can potentially provide the needed guidance. 

Source:, "In some states, rapists can get custody of the kids born from their attacks", Stephen Adams, Oct. 10, 2017

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