An unusual custody case has led to outrage in Florida and across the nation. A judge granted sole child custody rights to the mother, a 21-year-old woman. However, the court also named a 27-year-old man as the child’s father. The child in question was conceived when that man raped the mother when she was just 12 years of age.
This was not a traditional child custody case in which parents argue over the care and custody of a shared child. The only reason the parties were before the court is because the mother had applied for financial assistance. The state required that she pursue child support and paternity issues in court in order to receive that assistance.
Unfortunately, that placed the mother in the position of having to go through a proceeding in which her attacker was identified as her child’s parent and ordered to pay child support. The man was also able to gain access to the woman’s address as part of the court proceeding. The judge in this case claims that he was unaware of the background of either party at the time the decision was made.
He has issued a temporary hold on the case, and hearings are scheduled to revisit the issue in more depth. In the meantime, many are calling for a re-evaluation of how such cases are handled. Many believe that a parent who is simply seeking financial support through state resources should never be placed in such a position. For many Florida parents, the thought of such a child custody ordeal is difficult to bear.
Source: mlive.com, “Judge in child custody case unaware father was rapist”, Michael Kransz, Oct. 12, 2017