Child custody is one of the most controversial and complicated aspects of family law. It has been the cause of endless conflict and strife for many families.
One of the reasons for this is the fact that family law is very tricky. While the court is supposed to make the decision that ultimately benefits the child in question, a number of factors can come into play which can lead to a ruling that is not entirely favorable for the parent.
It is often said that child custody ruling is often skewed in the favor of mothers. Parents, for a number of reasons, can have their child custody rights affected by a number of factors, one of which is a criminal conviction.
It is no secret that a criminal conviction can have a tremendous effect on an individual’s life and this extends to seeking a custody arrangement for one’s child and parents’ rights in general.
However, there are a number of things that a lot of people do not know about how a criminal conviction affects parents’ rights.
1. Your rights could be revoked: This depends on the crime for which the parent has been convicted of. Custody laws are designed to protect children from all possible danger even if the danger is their own parents.
If the convicted crime is one of emotional or physiological abuse, the courts might be very stringent in granting the father custody rights. If the victim of the crime was their own child, this is even more likely. However, if the crime included physical or sexual abuse, paternal rights might be revoked altogether.
2. Prior convictions count: In the eyes of the law, prior convictions, especially those pertaining to crimes such as drug abuse, DUIs and domestic violence are very relevant factors when deciding child custody cases.
In the case of violent crimes such as domestic violence, the parent might be allowed to only have supervised or limited contact with the child in question as such a conviction creates the perception of the parent being a possible danger to the child.
This is particularly prevalent in the case of fathers seeking custody of their children. It is well known that fathers’ rights often take a backseat during child custody cases and the inclusion of criminal convictions is no exception.
In the case of drug abuse, the parent might need to undergo a drug test, the results of which might also lead to the parent only having limited or supervised contact with the child.
3. The age of conviction is considered: How long ago the parent was convicted of the crime is taken into consideration by the courts.
If the crime in question was committed a long time ago and there has been no further conviction, the court might choose to overlook the conviction when deciding the case.
The closer the conviction was to the custody case, the more likely the court is to use it as a major deciding factor.
4. Repeat offenses carry weight: A single incident of offense in the past by the parent might not necessarily count against them in a child custody case. Multiple offenses, on the other hand, cast the parent in a poor light and bring into question their ability to follow court directives. This is also true in the case of very long sentences as this might imply that the parent will not be a constant presence in the child’s life and the courts would not want to award custody to an individual who will be an on-again-off-again presence.
5. A new partner’s conviction could be a red flag: Even if the parent in question has no criminal conviction, their current partner’s criminal convictions might come into play.
If the new parent is in a relationship with someone who has past criminal convictions, the courts might be reluctant to grant them custody as the relationship might expose the child to danger.
Child custody is already an unpredictable topic in itself. When combined with criminal convictions, it becomes even more complex.
The key to navigating this is to be aware of all the facts in order to make the best case possible.
Author Bio: Jerry Wells holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science, who blogs about politics, environment, law and business management during his free time.