When a parent is convicted of a crime, their child custody or parental visitation rights may be affected. The decision dictating a parent’s visitation rights is not black or white. Especially after a criminal conviction, the court will likely review the case and other related factors to determine whether to make changes or not.
The courts always put the interests of the child first. In child custody cases, the court tries to refrain from disrupting the current schedule or routine of a child, so they will only do so if deemed necessary for the child’s well-being. After a criminal conviction, the court will likely consider the crime that the parent was convicted of and whether it can impact the child. If the crime was violent or harmful by nature, such as assault and battery or sexual assault, then the child may be at risk or negatively impacted in some way. In this case, the court is likely to change the visitation rights of that parent.
Maintaining Relationships with Both Parents
If possible, the court tries to make it that a child maintains relationships with both parents. If a criminal charge does happen to change the visitation rights, they may still allow parenting time under organized supervision.
Conditions on Parenting Time
To maintain child-parent relationships, the courts may also place conditions on the visitation rights to ensure safety for the child. These conditions are likely to be related to the nature of the crime committed. For example, if the crime was related to drugs of alcohol, then the courts might require that another person drives the child or that the parent take regular drug tests. In other cases, the courts may order the parenting time to occur in a public place.
Criminal Convictions of Non-Parents
If a non-parent, such as an aunt, uncle, grandparent or family friend, spends time with the child and is committed of a criminal conviction, then the courts can make changes to the custody order. If, under any circumstances, the court feels that the child is in harm or danger from the non-parent or that the non-parent might be a bad influence on the child, then the court can prevent them from spending time with the child.
Hiring an Attorney
If you have been convicted of a crime and worry that it may affect your custody or visitation agreement, then you should speak with a criminal lawyer Fairfax VA or any skilled local attorney.. A skilled and experienced lawyer can help review the factors of your case and determine how best to fight for your rights and interests. It is important to maintain a strong relationship with your child, and a professional can increase your chances at doing so.
Thank you to Dave Albo Attorney for providing their insight on the effect criminal convictions can have on parental visitation rights.