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How do criminal charges affect my visitation?

Occasionally, divorced parents find themselves subject to scrutiny because of criminal charges in their past. Sometimes, these charges don't make any impact on visitation rights, and other times these charges make all the difference. Either way, being informed of what you or your ex is facing during a custody or visitation battle is always important.

During a custody or visitation hearing, the family court system will likely want to know all the aspects of your life that may impact your ability to care for your child or children. Although many family court systems will look into your past on their own, your ex may request it as well. If the court finds that there are criminal charges in your past or impending future, they will likely ask you to clarify the nature of those charges. Aspects of those charges, such as the who, where, and when, will be examined closely for any issues that the family court feels may impact your ability to care for your children.

Obviously, criminal charges that stem from domestic abuse, child abuse or neglect may impact your visitation rights. Other aspects that are closely considered by the family court may be the age of your conviction and the frequency of offenses. Clearly, a DUI charge that is 15 years old won't impact your visitation rights as much as, say three consecutive disorderly charges, all within the last year.

When it comes to child custody or visitation, what seems reasonable, usually is. The family court does not want to remove one parent from a child's life unless it is in their best interest. If you are facing criminal charges or just worried about the backlash from old charges, it may be best to speak to a family law attorney. With their help, you can rest assured, knowing your past won't come back to haunt your future.

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Goddard & Malmquist
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