How does a Criminal Offense Affect Child Custody?

In child custody cases, the court prioritizes the best interests of the children above all else, including the preferences and convenience of the parents. Therefore, criminal charges can have a significant impact on the outcome of child custody disputes, as they may strongly influence how the case proceeds.

Prioritization of the Safety and Well-Being of Children

The foremost consideration of the court is to ensure the safety and welfare of the child, which is why a judge will assess multiple factors to determine whether a parent with a criminal record is capable of providing a secure environment for their child.

Some of the factors a judge might consider include the age of the conviction, the victim’s identity (if any), the circumstances surrounding the offense, any history of violence, and allegations of drug use or possession. Additionally, the type of sentence received by the parent is also taken into account.

The court is required by law to evaluate prior convictions involving sexually explicit crimes, violent acts towards household members, and child neglect. These offenses are deemed significant as they are closely linked to safeguarding the well-being of children.

The Impact of a Criminal Record on Child Custody Cases

In determining child custody, the judge considers several factors related to a criminal record. Ohio law classifies crimes as misdemeanors and felonies, with the latter being more serious.

Although a misdemeanor conviction may not be as severe as a felony, it can still concern a judge if it indicates a history of violence or substance abuse. For instance, multiple DUI convictions, although misdemeanors, can suggest an alcohol problem.

Similarly, a misdemeanor charge for assault or battery may not be as serious, but repeated offenses may imply difficulty controlling one’s anger which poses a risk to the child’s safety. As a result, the judge may consider these factors when deciding whether to grant custody.

The Impact of Felony Convictions on Child Custody Cases

Felony convictions are a serious matter for parents fighting for custody of their children. Judges will examine the circumstances surrounding the prior convictions and weigh them in determining the best interests of the child.

In some cases, a prior felony may have little impact on the custody determination, especially if the conviction is old and no further legal issues have arisen. However, there are instances where a prior felony, particularly those involving violence or ongoing incarceration, or probation, by the convicted parent may be given significant weight.

In addition to prior convictions, judges will also consider other factors such as the other parent’s and child’s wishes, the physical and mental health of the parents, parent-child interaction, prior compliance with court-ordered parenting time, and the parent’s housing stability.

While a single felony conviction may not necessarily lead to automatic disqualification for custody, the consequences of the conviction such as imprisonment may prevent a parent from having a meaningful relationship with their child. A lack of effort to establish and maintain such a relationship can also negatively impact a parent’s chances of gaining custody.

If your spouse is facing criminal charges

If your spouse is facing criminal charges during child custody proceedings, this can present significant factors in determining the child’s best interest for you. It’s important to note if your spouse is being charged with a crime, it is not the same as being convicted.

While a pending criminal case may be considered by the judge, it will likely carry less weight than an actual conviction. If your spouse is being convicted of a crime, please contact Nielsen Law today to discuss what strategies we can implement for your specific case.

Treatment of Criminal Convictions Varies Depending on the Type of Offense

In the eyes of the court, not all criminal charges carry the same weight. The impact of a criminal charge on your custody case often depends on the nature of the crime.

A conviction for certain felonies can result in a parent losing custodial rights. These crimes typically include:

  • Homicide
  • Aggravated assault
  • Stalking
  • Kidnapping
  • Any sexual offense
  • Any offense that endangers children

If one parent is charged with such a crime, the other parent may request a temporary custody order.

Contact Nielsen Law Today

If you need legal help with a child custody case, don’t hesitate to contact Nielsen Law LLC at 614-505-5555 to schedule a consultation with an experienced attorney. We’re here to help you navigate the legal process and protect your rights as a parent.