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Family Law Blog

James D. Madden & Aruna P. Rodrigo, Family Law Attorneys

How an Arrest Can Affect Your Parenting Rights 02-11-2016

How an Arrest Can Affect Your Parenting Rights

Being a parent can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience. There is something to be said about raising a child and watching them grow up to be good adults. However, sometimes people miss their opportunity to raise their children. Many factors can affect your parenting rights, a main one being arrests and criminal records. When a couple files for divorce, the court determines how to divide custody of the children between the pair. Prior arrest records can affect the way in which your rights are established.

What Are Parental Rights?

In family law, parental rights refers to the ability of parents to decide on behalf of their children. Biological parents usually receive these rights automatically, while adoptive parents, foster parents, and legal guardians can request such privileges.

General parental rights include:

  • Visitation and contact rights
  • The right to make contractual decisions on child’s behalf
  • Right to physical and legal custody of the child
  • Right to make medical and religious decisions for the child

These are inherent rights afforded to the parents of a child. They are used to secure and allow for the offspring’s wellbeing and best interests. When couples divorce, one parent might have an advantage if the other spouse has a criminal record.

How Arrests Affect Parenting Rights

When a judge evaluates a divorce involving child custody matters, they prioritize what is best for the child. Arrest records can influence their decision and influence what they think of your parenting ability. Depending on the extent of the crime charges, parenting rights can be limited or terminated.

Governing factors of child custody and arrests:

  • The offense – The court will look at what you were arrested for. Convictions involving domestic abuse and substance abuse will hold more weight because these issues will directly affect the child. Matters of domestic abuse indicate problems with anger management and behavioral issues. Similarly, drug abuse alters the moods/demeanor of an individual. The judge will question the child’s safety when they are around you.
  • The victim – The court will be interested to know your relationship with the alleged victim. How close were they to you? How did you know them? How did the crime transpire? In matters of abuse and sexual violence, the judge wants to know if your children were involved. If they were, this can potential terminate your parenting rights.
  • Age of conviction – How old the conviction occurred can potentially affect your parenting rights. If the incident happened years ago and was an isolated event, the arrest may not negatively impact your case. However, if it was more recent, it can have the judge question your ability to parent properly.
  • The number of arrests – Much like the age of the arrest, it is important for the court to evaluate the number of times you have been arrested. A singular occurrence will not have as much an influence as repeat offenses. The judge wants to ensure the safety of the child and wants to know that you will not do anything to be arrested while the child is in your custody.

We understand how important your children are to you. Sometimes, mistakes happen which you regret. You should not have to pay for it years later. If you have been arrested in a past and are going through a divorce, contact our board certified family law specialist. We understand your apprehension over how your arrest record will influence your custody case. We prioritize our clients’ needs and really get to know them. That way, we can represent them in the best light in court. For experienced legal representation, contact our San Bernardino child custody attorneys today.

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