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How would a father’s criminal record affect his chances in a custody battle?

Los Angeles, CA |
Attorney answers 3

Posted

It may or may not have any bearing on a child custody case. The courts really look at each situation. What kind of crimes were they? When did they occur? Was there domestic violence involving the child? Sex offenses? Drugs? Also, the judge is given broad discretion in custody situations. Remember, the best interest of the child is the axiom.

The court will address the allegations, generally in mediation first, to see if an agreement can be reached between the parties. If either party does not agree with the mediator's recommendation, they can take the case to trial. A criminal background may have no affect on a custody case, or it could be determined that it is not in the best interest of the child to be with the parent with the record, depending on the circumstances.

Posted

What sort of criminal record? How long ago was it? Does the mother have a criminal record? Depending on the specific facts and circumstances, it may or may not affect custody. Also, how long has the mother had sole custody? Judges oftentimes like to maintain status quo in the best interests of the children. A judge will not disturb a long-standing and effective final custody order unless there is documented change of circumstances.

Asker

Posted

In 2004 my childrens father was 18 and got charged as a sex offender due to sexual intercorse with a minor, he was also charged with attempted burglery around that time, in 2008 he was charged with failure to register and living to close to a school, in 2011 he was charged with domestic abuse causing bodily injury, child endangerment (because he held our daughter while physically assaulting me and our son was in his crib) a couple days after being arrested for the domestic incident he was charged with Operating While in toxicated and driving with a susbended license, he has not even talked to my children for 7 months, my son is two and does not remember him at all and my daughter will ask of him some times but i have had alot of behaviors with her because she has been through alot with what had happened. Their father never cooperated with DHS when they got involved and they put him on the child abuse registery, i have paper work from dhs stating they do not recamend he have unsupervised visitation (they did not say he couldnt how ever), he had a mental evaluation done before he went to prison and i dont think he had good results, I filed a petition for sole legal and physical custody with supervised visits he replied requesting he get the kids everyother weekend/holiday and two weeks out of the summer, he wants his mother (who has had nothing to do with my children) to take his visitation until he gets out of prison, he wants his child support to be lowered to 20 dlr a month until hes out of prison and he wants to be able to claim one child every tax season and only pay half of medical expenses. i dont care about the child support or medical bills i have been supporting my children on my own even whne i was with him, i do however consider him unfit as a parent and do not trust him to not put my children in harms way, he has a drinking problem as well and i believe there are enough incidents filled with him drunk that the courts can see he has a drinking problem and is violent when drinking.

Asker

Posted

i find out when the trial date is on the 17th when my lawyer has a phone conference to discuss it, i am just really nervous that he will get my children unsupervised, i do not have any criminal record myself and i am just really nervous about the trial!

Posted

It may have a big affect or none at all. Some of the issues that the Court will address will have to be the nature of the crime, when the crime/conviction occurred, and whether the nature of the crime will affect the health, safety, and welfare of the minor children in the future. For example, if a father has a domestic violence conviction, that may keep him from having custody of the children. However, other minor issues, or issues that happened long ago, may not be given much weight by the court.