What are the legal ramifications of a child conceived during a sexual assault?

In the last few days a I have been asked about the legal ramifications of a child conceived during a sexual assault.

Abortion and adoption are legal options that the woman has. If she decides to keep the child the law is on her side. Under Nevada law a person who is convicted of a sexual assault has no visitation rights to the child that was conceived during the sexual assault. He does, however, have the right, rather the obligation, to pay child support. The sticking point here is the need for a conviction. Many times the person who committed the sexual assault is not convicted. However, are ways around the conviction requirement. A man can argue that he was never convicted of sexual assault and therefore it never happened. Nice try no cigar. Anyone who has committed a sexual assault is not a nice person and likely has convictions in their history, such as assault, domestic violence, drug or alcohol use and may not have a stable living situation. All of this can be used against him to prevent visitation. Also, there may be other ways to convince the man to not push for visitation. Remember the man’s goal is not to be a father to the child but rather to exercise control over the woman. Money can motivate these men sometimes. I have seen men agree to or not challenge a Petition to Terminate Parental Rights knowing that they would be off the hook for child support.

Sexual assault or rape is not about sex it is about power. The only way to deal with people like this is from a position of strength and the victims of sexual assault have more strength than they realize. At Harris, Yug & Ohlinger we fight to protect those who need help.


In many families there is a close bond between the step parent and step child.  Accepted conventional wisdom has it that once the marriage ends the relationship between the step parent and step child ends automatically.  That doesn’t have to be the case.  There are laws on the books for people other than parents to have court ordered visitation with children.  Generally this is considered for grandparents but these laws can also be used by siblings and former step parents to get visitation with the children.  In CPS cases, the adoption orders will often include language to ensure that siblings are able to have visitation until the youngest child becomes an adult.

At Harris, Yug & Ohlinger I have been involved in cases where someone other than the parent wants visitation with children. I have represented the parent who did not want the visitation to occur and the child who wants the visitation to occur.