When you are going through a divorce and there are children involved, part of the process will involve coming up with a parenting plan. This plan will guide how you and your spouse will share the custody of the child. It will also determine how decisions regarding the child’s day-to-day affairs will be made.
Whether you work out a parenting plan on your own or with the help of the court, it is important to understand that the final order is legally binding. This means that it has to be made in the best interest of the child, and one factor the court will consider is whether either parent has a criminal record.
Are all crimes equal in the eyes of the family court?
The simple answer is no. If either parent has a criminal record, then the court will determine how this may affect the parent in question’s ability to promote a protective and healthy environment for the child. As you can probably imagine, a DUI conviction that you had ten years ago may not carry as much weight as a sexual assault or a recent drug conviction.
Some of the factors the court may look into when reviewing your criminal record include:
- The offense you were convicted for
- When the offense in question was committed
- The victim’s relationship to you
- Whether you are a repeat offender
- The age when you were convicted
The judge will basically seek to establish whether you can keep the child safe or not based on your criminal record. Crimes that involve child abuse and/or trafficking, sexual assault, domestic violence and drug and substance abuse will definitely carry more negative weight.
Protecting your interests
Divorce is rarely easy, especially if children are involved. Protecting the child’s safety is your top priority as well as the court’s. If your custody situation is complicated, it’s wise to have legal support.