If a judge judges that a criminal record hampers a parent’s capacity to be a good parent, this can substantially impact their custody and visiting rights with their children.
When We Talk About “Custody,” What Exactly Do We Mean?
You should be aware that there are two sorts of custody: “legal custody” and “physical custody.” Legal custody is the type of custody that the court grants.
It is the legal right to participate in the decision-making process about a child’s upbringing and welfare, including education, religion, and non-emergency medical conditions, known as “legal custody.” A typical example is a decision over whether a child will attend public or private school. The word”physical custody” refers to where the child will reside.
Legal and physical custody can be further subdivided into “joint custody” and “sole custody,” depending on the circumstances.
With “joint legal custody,” both parents are included in the decision-making process for the most critical areas of life. “Sole legal custody” refers to the fact that only one parent has the authority to make those decisions.
If a parent has “sole physical custody,” that parent is the only one with physical custody of the child. The other parent will typically receive visitation rights (also known as “parenting time” with the child) based on a schedule that has been agreed upon or ordered by the court.
Physical custody proceedings can be highly complicated, emotionally draining, and expensive (including the cost of attorneys’ fees).
Is it possible for a convicted felon to have custody of a child?
That is dependent on the situation. When it comes to custody and visitation, judges have a legal obligation to put the child’s best interests. And it’s pretty much widely agreed upon that children are best served when both parents are present in their lives simultaneously.
As a result, judges make every effort to ensure that this occurs to the greatest extent feasible. That is true even if one of the parents has been convicted of a felony.
Nevertheless, because the word “convicted felon” encompasses a wide range of offenses, what matters most is the nature of the crime committed and when the crime occurred. And it is at this point that common sense should be applied.
Generally, a judge is more likely to allow criminal offenders to participate in their children’s lives if the crime committed does not demonstrate behavior that would put the child at risk.
Example: A parental theft that occurred ten years ago with no additional violations on the parent’s part is unlikely to impact a child’s physical custody dispute shortly significantly. However, a history of assault would certainly disqualify someone, mainly if there have been recent episodes.
According to the other parent’s background and parenting abilities, it is feasible for the guilty parent to receive sole legal and physical custody of the child. Just keep in mind that the individual facts of each case will drive the judge’s decision, which will always be made with the child’s best interests in mind.
It is important to note that several offenses are virtually certain to result in a court denying the violating parent any child custody. This is usually addressed by the legislation of the state in question. Such offenses include, for example, domestic violence directed at the other parent or child, sexual assault directed at either parent or child, and any other form of abuse directed at a child.
Criminal Charges and Child Custody: What You Need to Know
Suppose a judge decides that a criminal record hampers a parent’s capacity to be a decent parent. In that case, the judge’s decision might substantially impact the parent’s physical custody and visiting rights. In a child custody dispute, it is the judge’s job to guarantee that all decisions about custody and visitation are made with the kid’s best interests in mind.
The most concerning offenses for a judge are those involving violence that could result in physical harm to a child or those involving substance misuse that could result in child neglect.
If a parent is convicted of any offenses listed below, they may lose all custody rights. They would almost certainly be restricted to just supervised visitation or, in infrequent circumstances, denied access to the home at any point.
Felonies that prevent a parent from having custody of their children
Assault with a vengeance
Any offense of a sexual character is prohibited.
Whether a parent’s offense was classified as a felony or misdemeanor makes a difference.
On the other hand, m
misdemeanors are not nearly as severe as felonies. On the other hand, a minor conviction is expected to have less influence on custody.
On the other hand, state penal codes govern whether an offense is classified as a felony or a misdemeanor. A judge may consider that certain misdemeanors are problematic enough to warrant denying a parent certain custody rights. For example, sexual misconduct is classified as a misdemeanor in several states.
Although the conduct may not appear to be particularly heinous compared to other sex-related infractions, the nature of the offense may cause a court to hesitate.
The Beliefs of Your New Life Partner
Aside from proving your unfitness using your previous criminal convictions, your ex-spouse may also try to use your new partner’s prior criminal record against you to verify your wrongness.
Suppose you have a new live-in partner or regularly bring someone around your child, and that person has a prior criminal conviction. In that case, the record of your new partner may be extensively scrutinized in a custody dispute with your child.
The intricacies of the offense, on the other hand, will be scrutinized by the courts once more. If the courts believe your new partner’s past can negatively affect your child’s well-being, the court’s decision will impact your case.
For example, if you were convicted of a white-collar financial crime ten years ago, it is unlikely that your lawsuit will be much affected. Drug charges brought against students on school grounds last year, on the other hand, are likely to have an impact.
A lawyer can assist you in building a defense and demonstrating to the courts that you can offer a safe, caring environment for your child if you have a criminal record or if your new partner has any form of one-time charges or convictions. The last thing you want is for your ex to successfully portray you in poor light before a court of law.
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Parental participation in mandatory mediation is almost always required by court rules, with the assistance of a trained physical custody mediator, to resolve the matter as quickly as possible.
The mediator will not decide your case but will instead attempt to guide you and the other parent toward a mutually agreeable resolution of your disagreements. You can certainly bring up your criminal history with the mediator and provide them with any evidence you’ve gathered, such as police reports and other criminal records obtained through other means.
It may be beneficial for the mediator to be aware of these previous incidents to conduct the mediation session effectively.
If mediation fails to produce results, the mediator will submit a report to the court. After that, the judge will likely order a physical custody investigation, during which an investigator (often a psychologist or social worker) will look into each parent’s previous work history and current living conditions and will interview family members and others who are significantly involved in the parents’ and children’s lives. Determining whether or not there have been previous crimes will undoubtedly be a part of the investigation.