In the majority of divorce cases, the court will find that it is in the child’s best interests to spend time with both parents. But, the judge may not take this stance if one of the parents is seen as unstable or dangerous. Can a criminal record affect visitation rights? In some cases, yes. Here’s what the judge will consider when making this decision:
Who was the victim of your crime? If the crime that you committed involved your children or another family member, this will negatively affect your visitation rights. For example, a father that has been convicted of sexually or physically abusing his children may only get supervised visits with his kids. However, if the crime is minor and your kids were not involved, it may not affect your right to see your kids.
When the Crime Occurred
The judge may also consider when the crime occurred when deciding if your criminal record should affect your visitation rights. A man that is in his 50s may not be punished for a minor crime that he committed in his early 20s. The judge may assume that he has learned from his mistakes and matured over the years. But, if the parent recently committed a crime, this could show the judge that he is still unstable and incapable of raising children.
Type of Crime
Some crimes are taken more seriously by judges in this situation. Obviously, a parent with a history of committing violent crimes will concern a judge. The court will also be hesitant to let you spend a lot of time with your kids if you have been convicted of drug crimes, DUI, or weapons offenses.
Number of Crimes
A parent that has only committed one crime may not have his visitation rights taken away, however this could happen to parents that have lengthy criminal records. Having multiple convictions on your record indicates that you did not learn your lesson and that you do not have respect for the law. The judge will not want to put your children in an environment where they could be around criminal behavior. As a result, it’s possible that you will only be able to see your children under supervision.
If you are involved in a custody battle, it’s strongly recommended that you seek legal representation from a divorce attorney if you have a criminal record. The divorce attorneys at Adams Family Law will work tirelessly to prove that your past does not define the person that you are today. To schedule a consultation, call 513-929-9333 or email Steven@adamsfamilylaw.com.