Legal Information: Colorado


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October 13, 2023

If my child was conceived due to a sexual assault, can the offender get parenting responsibilities?

If the judge believes that you were the victim of sexual assault that resulted in the conception of your child, there is a “rebuttable presumption” against the offender getting sole, split, or mutual decision-making authority. What this means is that the judge is supposed to assume that it is not in the best interests of the child for that parent to decision-making authority; but the offender may be able to present evidence to overcome the judge’s assumption. The judge will also decide if it’s in the child’s best interests to prohibit or limit the offender’s parenting time with the child.1

If the offender was convicted in criminal court of this sexual assault, you can file a petition in the juvenile court to terminate the parent-child legal relationship and to prevent future contact the offender if all the following requirements are met:

  1. the offender must have been convicted of an act of sexual assault against you or convicted of a crime in which the underlying factual basis was sexual assault against you;
  2. the child must have been conceived during that sexual assault;
  3. the conviction must have been on or after July 1, 2013;2Note: A “conviction” includes a plea of “no contest,” or, for a juvenile defendant, a disposition or adjudication of juvenile delinquency based on committing any act that constitutes sexual assault;3 and
  4. termination of the parent-child legal relationship of the offender is in the best interests of the child.4Note: The judge will automatically assume that termination is in the best interests of the child but the offender has the right to try to convince the judge otherwise.5

If you file this petition to terminate the offender’s rights, the law states that your and your child’s whereabouts must be kept confidential. In addition, the judge can grant any sort of protective measures in the courtroom if you request them - such as allowing you to not appear in court when the offender is present.6

1 C.R.S. § 14-10-124(4)(a)(III), (4)(a)(IV)
2 C.R.S. § 19-5-105.5(3), (4)(a), (4)(b)
3 C.R.S. §§ 19-5-105.5(2)(a); 19-1-103(39)
4 C.R.S. § 19-5-105.5(4)(c)
5 C.R.S. § 19-5-105.5(7)(c)
6 C.R.S. § 19-5-105.5(6)

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