If a divorced parent receives a criminal conviction, it is possible that his or her parental rights will be affected. The court is authorized to make decisions that are in a child’s best interest, so depending on the crime committed, the court might modify the custody order or the parenting time schedule. Every case is unique. The courts consider a number of factors in determining the best course of action to take for the child or children involved.
If you have received a criminal conviction, you should seek legal counsel. A family lawyer, or child custody attorneys Phoenix AZ relies on, can help you determine your child custody rights following the conviction, and can even protect your rights in court.
Determining the Child’s Safety
In family law, the courts prefer not to disrupt a child’s routine in less for good reason. This means that any potential changes are deeply considered, and are not made lightly. In the case that a parent has received a criminal conviction, the court will look closely at the nature of the conviction and the person convicted, as well as other circumstances that may be relevant to the decision. Essentially, they seek to determine if there is evidence of behavior by the convicted parent that may negatively affect a child. The court may modify an existing custody order in the interest of a child if:
- The parent was convicted of a crime involving assault, domestic violence or illegal sexual behavior
- There is evidence of drinking and/or drug problems
- The parent has a history with related offenses
Maintaining a Relationship With Both Parents
Unless a parent is deemed dangerous to a child, the courts encourage that children maintain relationships with both parents. This is done by accommodating to any circumstances or changes made to the custody order or visitation rights. If a parent receives a criminal conviction resulting in changes, the courts will consider ways in which the parent and child can still spend time together to some extent. However, this time may be limited and subject to supervision in some cases.
Conditions on Parenting Time
In addition to modifying a custody order or visitations rights, conditions may be placed on parenting time. To ensure the safety of a child, the court may have certain requirements the parent must uphold in order to spend time with his or her child.
This allows a parent and child to spend time together even under harsher circumstances. For example, if a parent received a conviction involving drugs or alcohol, then the court may order the parent to take drug and alcohol tests. If the drugs were used in the home, then the court may order that the parent and child meet in a public space.
Seeking Legal Counsel
Family relationships are important. If you recently received a criminal charge and worry how it may affect your parenting rights, then a skilled attorney can help. An attorney can evaluate the situation to determine how to best navigate the situation at hand. He or she will also help in protecting your rights and fighting for your interests. This can be vital in maintaining a relationship with your family.
Thanks to our contributors from Hildebrand Law for their insight into parental visitation rights after a criminal conviction.
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