Does a Criminal Record Affect Child Custody?

Marriage is (almost) always a highly celebrated event. However, for between 40 and 50% of all couples that tie the knot, a challenging (and usually less celebrated) divorce is in the cards.

Divorces are often messy.  And, of course, having children complicates them in many ways.  One complication that many people don’t think of as their marriage withers, however, is, how a persons past transgressions might affect child custody.  More specifically, does a criminal record affect child custody?

Find out what you need to know about criminal records and child custody during and after your divorce here. 

Does a Criminal Record Affect Child Custody: Who Was the Victim?

Have you been convicted of abusing your child, or did you get in a bar fight after a few too many drinks? Both of these examples of potentially violent behavior will reflect poorly to a judge the quality of your decision making, having a history of abusing your own child will undoubtedly carry a much greater weight!

It is very likely that if you are judged to exhibit a risk for further abuse or neglect, your visitations will be supervised at a minimum. You will also have a harder time getting full or split custody.

Keep in mind that if you seriously injured your victim, child or not, a judge could even terminate your parental rights.

Specific Nature of Your Record

Just like it matters who the victim was, the type of crime will be important when your custody rights are being considered. If you have any domestic violence or child abuse/neglect convictions, you will have a tougher battle to fight.

These charges, in addition to assault charges, will make a judge concerned about anger management issues.

Drug charges are not technically ‘violent’ charges, but may negatively affect your desire for custody or shared custody as well.  A common requirement for this situation is submitting to regular drug testing.

How Long Ago was the Crime

There is a difference between a drunk in public charge from 20 years ago and an assault charge one year ago. If you had an old charge that did not turn into a pattern of violent or unlawful behavior for you, you can make a strong case that you are not that person anymore.

If it is clear that you have changed and haven’t had similar issues since the charge, it will likely not impact your custody situation.

But, if you have recurring charges throughout the years, especially if they are recent, your custody and visitation agreement could be limited. Multiple charges point to a person who cannot follow court orders, and that has other unaddressed challenges.

A judge will not want to place children with a parent who may or may not be back on probation or even in jail in a few months.

Understanding the Impact of Your Record

As you can see, it is a complicated answer to the question, “Does a criminal record affect child custody?” Regardless of your situation, there is always hope.

In a difficult situation and need some legal advice? Please contact us, and we would be happy to discuss your situation and possible solutions.

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Custody Battle Tips That’ll Help You Get Through a Hard Fight

Although couples marry with the idea that it’s going to last forever, this isn’t always the case. In the United States, about 40 to 50 percent of marriages end in divorce.

Unfortunately, some of these broken marriages have to deal with custody battles.

If you’re dealing with a custody battle, it’s easy to make mistakes that could jeopardize your visitation rights.

We’ve put together a list of custody battle tips to help you in the process.

1. Be Willing to Cooperate With Your Ex

No matter what side you’re on, showing an unwillingness to work with your ex will only hurt you in the long run.

Even if you don’t want to work with your ex, doing so will demonstrate you’re only looking out for the well being of your child. A judge will be more sympathetic if both parties are willing to work together.

2. Perception is Important

Even if you love and care for your child, perception is everything to the court. Don’t do anything that might show you as an unfit parent.

Make sure you keep your job, stay away from drugs or alcohol, show up to work on time, and always look presentable in court.

3. Do Your Homework

You’ll have a better chance in your custody battle if you prepare yourself. Make sure you learn all you can about family laws in your place of residence.

You should also begin to gather any necessary documentation you might need in court.

4. Try Not to Change Your Schedule

Your custody battle will go a lot smoother if you don’t mess with your visitation schedule.

If the judge sets a temporary visitation schedule, you should stick to it. Avoid asking your ex to switch out dates for your convenience. Also, try to show up on time and drop off your child at the time specified by the court.

5. Keep Your Children Out of It

No matter how ugly things get, you should always leave your children out of it. Nothing hurts children more than seeing their parents fight and seeing their family fall apart.

Make sure you never speak ill about your ex in front of your children and focus all of your energy on spending quality time with them.

6. Try to Settle out of Court

Going to court will be a long, expensive, and emotional process. If you can help it, you should always try to settle out of court.

Meet with your ex and try to come up with a custody agreement that will work for both of you and be amicable.

Get your lawyers involved if you both can’t be in the same room together.

7. Get a Custody Lawyer

Don’t try to go into a custody battle without a lawyer. A lawyer will counsel you so you can get the best outcome possible.

And most importantly, you’ll feel like there’s someone in your corner.

Try These Custody Battle Tips

Going through a custody battle is one of the hardest things you will ever have to do. The best thing you can do is prepare with these custody battle tips.

Are you going through a custody battle and need a lawyer? Let Indigo Family Law be of service.

Contact us here or use the contact form below to request a consultation.

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