The goal of the family court system is to make decisions that are in the best interest of the family’s most vulnerable members – the children. The court considers all aspects of family life and does its best to determine what is going to be healthiest for any children involved.
Obviously, these issues can be subjective, but in most cases, a parent who is able to provide a stable, loving environment will be granted custody rights by the court – or at the very least, significant visitation rights.
Unfortunately, when the court determines the environment a parent provide is not safe, stable, or in the child’s best interest, the court has the authority to deny that parent’s right to spend time with his or her child. This decision is not taken lightly, but you can assume that if you have a criminal history or you are convicted of a crime, it will have an impact on your custody arrangement.
Can the Court Prevent Me from Seeing My Child?
The simple answer is, “yes, the court has the authority to keep parents and children separated.” However, everything possible is done to prevent this from happening (occasionally even at the detriment of the child’s well-being).
The good news is if you find yourself in legal trouble, it’s unlikely you’ll lose your right to see your child – unless the crime you committed is directly related to your child’s well-being.
When determining whether a parent should spend time with his or her child after a criminal charge is filed, the court will consider:
• the alleged offense
• the alleged victim
• the nature of any sentence that might occur
• whether or not any crimes were committed in the past
• how long ago the crime in question was committed
In some cases, the time you spend with your child might change as the result of the crime.
For instance, supervised visits might be required or your time with your child might be more drastically limited. But rarely does committing a crime completely revoke your right to see your child, even if you are put in jail as a result of the crime.
If you’d like to know more about parental rights of incarcerated individuals, visit prisonerswithchildren.com.
What If the Crime Was Directed at Your Child?
Should the crime in question involve your child, you can assume your custody and visitation rights will be in serious jeopardy. Any time the court believes your child could be at risk, it will do all it can to protect the child.
And in cases where the crime you’re accused of is sexual abuse or you put your child’s life at risk, it’s possible the court could terminate your parental rights.
An Attorney Can Help You Protect Your Rights as a Parent
If you are accused of a crime and concerned about custody or time with your child, you need to contact an attorney.
He or she will be able to assist you with the charges against you and help you retain your parental rights. In some cases, you’ll benefit from working with a criminal attorney and a family law attorney, especially if you’re involved in an ongoing custody dispute of any kind.
For more information or to discuss what’s happening with your visitation or custody rights, contact David Lindsey to schedule a free consultation.