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Bill Detail: HB14-1162

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Chamber House
Title Protect Rape Victim Where Child Conceived
House Sponsors L. Landgraf (R)
Senate Sponsors M. Carroll (D)
Description

Last session, the general assembly passed a bill that allows the
victim of a sexual assault in which a child was conceived and in which
the person who committed the sexual assault was convicted to file for the
termination of the parent-child legal relationship of the person who
committed the sexual assault. In that same bill, the general assembly
created a task force on children conceived by rape to study whether
changes should be made to that statute and to study issues associated with
parental rights in cases where a child was conceived as a result of the
sexual assault but a conviction did not occur. This bill makes legislative
changes in response to the study and report prepared by the task force.
The bill makes the following changes to provisions passed last
year for cases involving convictions:
  • Adding more due process protections, such as specifying
the notice to the respondent, setting a date for hearing the
petition, and notifying the Indian tribe if the child is an
Indian child in accordance with the federal Indian Child
Welfare Act;
  • Adding more protections for the victim and the child,
including protecting the identity of the victim and the child
in the summons, ordering protective measures for the
victim in the courtroom, and treating child support
payments as confidential;
  • Providing legal counsel and waiving filing fees for indigent
victims;
  • Providing for admission of parentage and for genetic
testing to confirm paternity and allowing the court to order
the parent against whom the petition has been filed to pay
for genetic testing;
  • Stating that the court shall not presume that having only
one remaining parent is contrary to the child's best
interests;
  • Creating a process for the parent whose parent-child legal
relationship is terminated to provide medical and family
information to be shared with the child and the victim in a
way that protects the child from knowing the name of the
person;
  • Clarifying what happens if the court denies the petition to
terminate the parent-child legal relationship, including that
the juvenile court has continuing jurisdiction of the matter
and has the authority to enter an order allocating parental
responsibilities between the parties, including an order to
not allocate parental responsibilities to the parent against
whom the petition was filed.
The bill repeals the statutes enacted last year that provided for a
stay of a civil domestic relations proceeding or a paternity action while
criminal charges of sexual assault brought against the alleged perpetrator
are resolved.
The bill creates a process to allow the victim of a sexual assault in
cases where a child was conceived and in which a conviction did not
occur to file a petition in juvenile court to prevent future contact with and
to terminate the parent-child legal relationship of the parent who allegedly
committed the sexual assault. This process is similar to the process for
petitions involving convictions but does not include a rebuttable
presumption that it is in best interests of the child to terminate the
parent-child legal relationship. If the court denies the petition to terminate
the parent-child legal relationship, the juvenile court has continuing
jurisdiction and the authority to enter orders on allocation of parental
rights, including an order to not allocate parental rights to the other
parent. The juvenile court may order the parent to submit to a sex
offense-specific evaluation and parental risk assessment that may factor
in the allocation of parental rights and responsibilities and parenting time.
The court shall order the parent who is found to have committed the
sexual assault to pay for the costs of the evaluation and the assessment.
All of the changes made in this bill to the process for petitions involving
convictions are also included in the process for petitions for
nonconvictions.
Since some issues involving the child conceived by a sexual
assault might start in the domestic relations arena instead of in a juvenile
proceeding, the bill gives the domestic relations courts the authority to
allocate parental rights and responsibilities, to address decision-making
between the victim and the other parent in these cases, and to issue
protective orders. The provisions are similar to the considerations that the
court uses to address cases involving domestic violence. If the court finds
by a preponderance of the evidence that one of the parties has committed
sexual assault and the child was conceived as a result of the sexual
assault, then it shall not be in the best interests of the child to allocate sole
or split decision-making to the person who was found to have committed
sexual assault or to allocate mutual decision-making with respect to any
issue over the objection of the other party or the guardian ad litem. If the
court finds by a preponderance of the evidence that one of the parties has
committed sexual assault and the child was conceived as a result of the
sexual assault, the court shall consider whether it is in the best interests
of the child to prohibit or limit the parenting time of that party with the
child. Prior to entering an order relating to parenting time or parental
contact, the court may order that party to submit to a sex offense-specific
evaluation and a parental risk assessment in Colorado. The court shall
order the parent who is found to have committed the sexual assault to pay
the costs of the evaluation and parental risk assessment.
In addition, in cases where the court has found that the child was
conceived as a result of sexual assault, a domestic relations court may not
modify a prior order regarding allocation of decision-making or modify
a prior order regarding parenting time, unless it finds that the child's
present environment endangers the child's physical health or significantly
impairs the child's emotional development.
Under existing law, when a parent voluntarily relinquishes a child
so that the child may be adopted, there is a private action filed to
terminate the parent-child legal relationship of the other parent. A victim
of sexual assault might want to voluntarily relinquish the child conceived
from the sexual assault for adoption and terminate the other parent's
rights. This bill amends the statute on termination in voluntary
relinquishment cases so that the court may order the termination based on
a finding that the other parent is unfit due to a history of violent behavior,
which may include an incidence of sexual assault that resulted in the
conception of the child.

Date Introduced 01/17/2014
Amendments out of Committee
Bill News None
House Committee Judiciary
Senate Committee
Status (05/09/2014)
Link to Full Text Full Text of Bill
Link to Lobbyists Lobbyists
Link to Bill Versions Bill Versions  
Link to Fiscal Notes Fiscal Notes (07/23/2014)  
Link to History History  
Link to Audio  
House Votes House Votes
Senate Votes Senate Votes
Vote Totals Vote Totals by Party
 
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