A criminal charge can affect anyone’s daily life substantially. Criminal charges can damage a person’s reputation permanently. A sentence may seem fleeting in the long-term, but what happens when a parent with a criminal charge suddenly finds themselves in a child custody battle? These criminal charges suddenly are more substantial and may affect the outcome of a child custody case.
10 percent of divorces are contested and result in child custody cases to determine the living situation and visitation rights of the parents. Almost every child custody case is determined by what action would be in the best interest of the child. As the website of Daniel Jensen, Attorney at Law says, when a parent’s criminal record shows current or past charges against the individual, it is not bode well for them. However, a number of factors play into the decision the court could make such as the victim of the offense, the type of offense, the time frame of the conviction, the nature of the sentence, and the frequency of convictions.
Cases involving assault and battery, domestic violence, or child abuse will carry heavy weight in deciding a custody case. As a Houston divorce lawyer would know, the court, in aiming to protect the child, can and will set strict limitations for interacting with the child in these cases to protect the minor from becoming a victim of reoccurring violence from the parent. The court is legally allowed to assume that the actions were not isolated and therefore present a clear and present danger to the child. The may even terminate the parental rights to a child in serious cases.
Custody can also be made difficult if the crimes committed were related to drug and alcohol abuse. Driving under the influence is a serious crime that may result in harsher custody agreements. If the drug or alcohol related convictions are recent, courts may demand a hair follicle drug test to determine if drug use is still a concern. A positive drug test will often result in child visitations with required supervision. However, older cases that prove to be isolated incidents may persuade judges to be more lenient with their rulings.
Parental rights to a child are precious and should be protected. If you are currently involved in a child custody battle that includes a parent with criminal convictions, consult a family or criminal defense attorney in your area to discuss your options.