Dealing with Custody Concerns When You Have a Criminal Record

In Family Court Custody Cases, The Child’s Welfare Comes First. A Parent’s Criminal History Can Influence Custody Decisions.

Fighting for Custody with a Criminal Record in New JerseyIf you are undergoing a child custody case handled in family court, you may be wondering what factors the judge takes into consideration when making their custody and parenting time determination. Numerous factors contribute to a custody decision because the child’s well-being is at stake. Ultimately, the New Jersey Superior Court: Family Part judge will look first and foremost to what decision is in the child’s best interests. Does having a continued relationship with a parent who has a criminal past constitute the child’s best interests, or does protecting them from that parent instead serve them? Well, that is a nuanced question that we’ll get into in this post.

Know that the family court considers it generally in a child’s best interests to have a strong and consistent relationship with both parents. In most custody cases, this means as close to an equal amount of time spent with each parent as possible. This could look like shared custody, or if one parent has physical custody, the other will have substantial parenting time, including extended visits during weekends and summers. If one parent has a criminal record, however, the court may rule that it is not in the best interests of the child to have a relationship with that parent — it all depends on the nature of their criminal past. Contact Bronzino Law Firm today if you are divorcing with children and are worried that your criminal history may affect your custody chances.

Balancing Past Mistakes with Present Responsibilities

When it comes to determining custody, and one parent has a criminal record, the family court judge will take a few factors into consideration: What was the nature of the crime? How long ago did it occur? Has the individual been a law-abiding and productive member of society since? Depending on the type of crime for which the person was convicted, a limited criminal past that was not repeated may be dismissed by a judge in a custody case. For example, if you were convicted of possessing marijuana fifteen years ago, and you’ve had no trouble with the law since, you may have no trouble seeking joint custodial rights.

Impact of Specific Offenses on Parental Rights

The above example highlights how having a criminal record does not immediately disqualify a person from obtaining joint or even full custody of their child in a divorce. However, there are some criminal records that, regardless of how long ago they occurred, will have an adverse impact on the individual’s ability to be granted any form of custody or visitation rights. Such examples include domestic violence, child abuse, and kidnapping. If a person has been convicted of this type of crime, the family court judge will likely severely restrict visitation because such a history reflects behaviors that place a child in danger. Again, the court’s highest prerogative is to protect the safety and welfare of the child in question. Any evidence in a parent’s past or present that calls into question that the child’s best interests will be secured will result in restriction of that parent’s parental rights.

Demonstrating Rehabilitation in Family Court

Custody Attorney Explains How Certain Offenses Affect Parental Rights in Manchester, NJ If a parent has a criminal record, they will need to prove to the family court judge that they are a positive influence on their child and a productive member of society who has no further delinquent behavior. Such evidence can be demonstrated in many forms; it is possible for a parent to demonstrate rehabilitation after a criminal charge. To do this, it is important to have the support of a custody attorney who has the experience and know-how to guide you through building a strong argument for joint custody or ample parenting time.

Trust Our Experienced Family Lawyers to Handle Criminal Records and Child Custody Matters in Freehold and Toms River NJ

When it comes to such a high-stakes process for you and your family, you need to know that you are represented and guided by the best support possible. Our team at The Bronzino Law Firm has successfully represented hundreds of clients in Wall, Sea Bright, Long Branch, Bay Head, Tinton Falls, Eatontown, and other Monmouth and Ocean County areas in their divorces and custody hearings, including those whose criminal records could have potentially impacted their ability to have a solid presence in their children’s lives.

We know how important it is for you to play a central role in your child’s upbringing, and we provide quality representation to help you build a strong case that you are a safe and positive influence on your child and a rehabilitated member of this community. Contact us today at (732) 812-3102 for a free and confidential consultation regarding your criminal past and your family’s future.