Why Having a Criminal Record May Negatively Affect your San Diego Child Custody Case
This is the next post in my series discussing how a person’s difficult past can affect their child custody case and what they may be able to do about it. My last article explained how a having a history of domestic violence can harm one’s chances of winning joint custody– even if the violence was not directed at the other parent. In this discussion I will be looking at how a criminal record can impact a San Diego Judge’s decision to award joint custody.
San Diego parents who have been convicted of a violent crime may have difficulty winning joint custody
It is an easy argument for a parent requesting primary child custody if the other parent has been convicted of a violent crime. If one parent has a history which implies a dangerous situation for the children then Judges are likely to think twice prior to allowing that parent to care for the children unsupervised. Felony convictions of assault, armed robbery, sexual assault, or burglary are all crimes that could make it difficult for a parent to be awarded primary custody.
However, extenuating circumstances may be considered as factors when the Judge is making his or her decision. For example, if the crime was committed, and the sentence completed, prior to the birth of the child then a San Diego Family Court Judge will take into account the parent’s good behavior since the child’s birth. If the couple has lived together for a long period of time, and the child has never been exposed to criminal activity or been placed in danger, then it can be argued that the parent has moved past his or her troubled past. The longer a parent has demonstrated that they are rehabilitated then the more likely the parent is to be awarded joint custody. However, if the parent has only recently been released from prison, has a history of violating probation, is currently under investigation, or is still serving probation, it is unlikely that joint custody would be awarded. It is important that San Diego area parents consider such issues before filing for custody.
California parents with a troubled history can gather evidence for the Court showing proof of rehabilitation
If a parent has a criminal history and is worried about being awarded joint custody then the best thing to do is gather as much evidence as possible to show the Court proof of rehabilitation. If possible, it can be greatly beneficial to have the conviction expunged from one’s record. If the parent has gone through a substance abuse rehabilitation program then it may be beneficial to release medical records and produce evidence of sobriety. Parents may also gather sworn affidavits from employers, family members, AA sponsors, and other relevant persons who can attest to the parent’s character and parenting skills.
You need a qualified attorney on your side if you are going through a custody battle and are worried that your past criminal history will be an issue. Contact our San Diego, California child custody lawyers today.