Unfortunately, a criminal record can devastate your life. You will face short-term penalties like jail time and hefty fines as well as the effects that could last for the rest of your life. Employment may be difficult to find and keep and certain rights like voting may be taken from you.
You may ask what effects your criminal record may have on your rights to see your children or if you can still obtain child custody. Below is a general guide to help answer these questions.
Family Life After a Criminal Charge
It is not necessarily true that you will be denied custody or visitation rights because of a criminal record. It is also not necessarily true that child support obligations are suspended or cancelled if an individual has been sent to prison.
Families often don’t survive a parent being sent to prison. Marriages often fall apart, a spouse may have to file for bankruptcy and homelessness can even result from this situation. The parent’s release doesn’t necessarily rectify the situation either. Ex-convicts do not find work easily, most employers won’t hire them. Their actions have damaged their relationships and their lives and they have a difficult time rebuilding those ties.
Is it Possible to Obtain Custody With a Record?
Getting even partial custody can be difficult at first for someone on parole. Even if the couple stays married, the paroled parent may be barred from staying in the same house or even visiting the child. The particulars of your case will be the main factors determining your custody and visitation rights. If the crime did not directly involve your children and was not of a sexual nature, a judge may allow you visitation or partial custody. You have a better chance of obtaining custody or visitation as time moves forward and you refrain from criminal activity.
Be aware that eluding child support payments harm your chances as well. Unless you file for a modification of your support orders, you will pile up arrears. Should you find work once you’re released, you may have your wages garnished for the back child support. A judge will not look favorably on back payments and it will probably negatively affect your child custody case.
Consult an Attorney
A criminal conviction or charge can devastate your chances at custody and visitation, but not always. Consult a lawyer, like a family attorney Austin, TX relies on, about the particulars of your case in order to see where you stand and what your chances are based on the circumstances of your case.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from The Law Office of Ryan S. Dougay for their insight into child custody.