How Criminal Charges Can Affect Child Custody Arrangements

Divorcing couples have to make plenty of difficult decisions. Among these decisions revolve around child custody. For parents who can’t come to an amicable agreement, the court can mediate and decide on an arrangement that will suit the best interest of the child or children involved. Such a decision will entail a variety of different factors and considerations to take into account.

In recent years, U.S. family courts have been keen on ensuring that children maintain the stability they have been used to and are able to spend time with both parents as much as possible. If the circumstances allow it, most judges award divorcing couples joint custody to keep the child’s relationship with both parents as close to what he or she have been used to. However, this decision will drastically change if one of the parents involved is deemed unfit.

The court has the legal power to restrict custody and visitation rights of a parent who is found to be unfit and incapable to properly care for their child. A parent will be considered so after an investigation that brings to light some factors that could be considered dangerous or risky to the child’s wellbeing. Someone with a history of domestic abuse, substance abuse, and other criminal offenses will be barred by the court from exercising their rights as a parent.

According to the website of the BB Law Group PLLC, a parent is usually declared unfit based on the following scenarios:

  • If a child or the other parent has been subjected to abuse, whether physical or emotional
  • If the parent in question is dependent on narcotic substances
  • If a parent’s new partner endangers the child’s well being

A parent with criminal charges can also face severe consequences when it comes to child custody or visitation rights. As pointed out by the website of the Flaherty Defense Firm, even minor criminal charges can have the potential to affect a person’s life. For example, a parent dealing with a misdemeanor charge of marijuana possession could risk their ability to retain their rights as a parent after the divorce.

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