Does a Criminal Charge Impact a Custody Case?

Do the Crime, Possibly Lose Time

Custody cases are difficult because everyone involved wants what is best for the child while also maintaining their desire to have custody. However, a parent with a criminal charge on record may have a more difficult time obtaining custody. Depending on the seriousness of the crime, as well as how recent the charge was, that charge could impact the final custody decision. Here is what to keep in mind.

Best Interest of the Child

In any child custody case, the primary factor in determining custody is the best interest of the child in question. All other factors are weighed against this standard. While a judge will typically assign a form of custody to both parents, as a child is best served by having a relationship with both parents, situations may ultimately dictate that such a relationship does not serve the child’s best interests. A criminal charge is one of those situations.

Severity and Recency

The two factors to keep in mind when pursuing custody with a criminal charge on record are the severity of the crime and how recent the charges were. Both felony and misdemeanor charges are considered in the case, yet minor crimes such as shoplifting are unlikely to have a serious impact on the overall custody determination. The crime’s correlation to your ability to be a good parent may also play a role in the outcome.

For example, if you have been charged with shoplifting, that charge may be minor enough to have little impact on the custody case. Your spouse may argue, however, that this charge shows a lack of ability to effectively care for a child, in which case you should be able to prove otherwise.

In addition to the severity of the crime, how recent the charges took place could also impact the custody determination. For example, a shoplifting charge from three years ago may have less bearing on a case than one from the last six months.

Multiple charges for the same crime could play a role in the outcome, as well. While one DUI charge may not be enough to have a serious impact on your custody case, having multiple DUIs on record is a different story.

Hiring an Attorney to Defend Your Right to Parent

Regardless of the charge on your record, you have the right to be a parent to your child. If you are afraid something on your record may infringe on that right, it is important to consult an attorney capable of defending you from your past and fighting for your right to see your child. TRABOLSI | LEVY | GABBARD LLP has helped numerous clients work through tricky custody situations and is ready to help you with yours.


Contact our custody attorneys today by calling (310) 455-8364 or by visiting our website.
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