WomensLaw serves and supports all survivors, no matter their sex or gender.

Legal Information: Tennessee


View all
Laws current as of November 27, 2023

If my child was conceived from rape, can the offender get custody or visitation rights?

If your child was conceived due to sexual assault, the offender cannot get custody or visitation rights if the abuser was convicted of, pleads guilty to, or pleads no contest to any of the following crimes or to a lesser-included offense:

  1. aggravated rape;
  2. rape;
  3. rape of a child;
  4. aggravated statutory rape; or
  5. statutory rape by an authority figure.1

The only exception to this law is if you file in court to ask the judge to order visitation rights anyway.2

In addition, the judge can order the offender to pay child support for the child even without having any custody or visitation rights.3

In addition, you can file a petition to terminate the parental rights of the other parent if s/he is convicted of one of the crimes listed above in numbers 1 through 3 that led to the conception of your child.4 There are also multiple other crimes for which you could file to terminate the parental rights of the other parent even if the crimes are not committed against you. See If the other parent is convicted of a serious crime, can I file to terminate his/her parental rights? for more information.

1 TN ST § 36-6-102(a)
2 TN ST § 36-6-102(b)
3 TN ST § 36-6-102(c)
4 TN ST § 36-1-113(b)(2)(A)