Parents’ behavior can immensely affect the outcome of a child custody case. Whereas the courts encourage parents to come up with custody and parenting plans of their preference, it is important to note that the court must validate any arrangement arrived at. And that validation is usually based on the child’s best interest.
Child custody hearings can be heavily contested even in the best of circumstances. However, if you have a criminal record at the time of litigating your child custody case, then you can be sure that the other parent might raise this issue with the court with the goal of gaining an upper hand.
A past crime may impact your custody case
While a criminal record can impact the outcome of your custody case, it helps to understand that each child custody matter is handled on a case-by-case basis. That said, here are some of the questions the court will ask when reviewing your fitness for custody based on your past conviction:
What was the specific offense?
The specific offense for which you were convicted is usually the deal breaker. The court takes a conviction for violent crimes like domestic violence and sex offenses quite seriously. Drug and alcohol-related convictions can also hurt your child custody case.
Who was the victim?
If the crime in question resulted in psychological harm or physical abuse to the child, the court is highly likely to restrict your access to the child. Most often, the court will order supervised visitations. However, if you were convicted of a sex crime against the child in question, then you may lose your parental rights entirely.
When were you convicted?
A single conviction from years gone by (say a conviction for a traffic offense) is less likely to hurt the outcome of your case. However, repeat DUI convictions can cause problems. For instance, this can give the impression that you are an addict. And your spouse can use this to question your fitness for custody.
Child custody can be complicated if you have a criminal record. Find out how you can safeguard your rights and interests while litigating your child custody case.