Thursday, September 26, 2013

Visitation Rights with Children Conceived by Rape

In Massachusetts, a rape victim became pregnant from the rape and gave birth a child in 2009. She was 14 years old at the time, the father, Jamie Melendez, was 20 at the time she got pregnant. Melendez was convicted of rape in 2011 and sentenced to 16 years of probation. One of the conditions of his probation was that he had to initiate proceedings in family court and comply with the court orders until the child becomes an adult. One of the orders made by the court was that Melendez pay $110 per week in child support.  

       Once he was ordered to pay child support, Melendez requested visitation rights with the child. He offered to withdraw the request for child support if he did not have to pay the support. 

     Massachusetts, along with 30 other states currently have no laws preventing fathers being given parental rights to children they fathered through a rape. California is not one of the 31 states and has a specific statute that restricts the visitation rights of pedophiles, convicted rapists, and also denies visitation rights to people convicted of rape with any children conceived from that rape. Federal legislation, the Rape Survivor Child Custody Act, was introduced in July 2013, encourages the states to adopt a judicial mechanism to terminate specific parental rights of fathers with their children conceived through rape.

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