When separating from your spouse, you may be anxious about the division of child custody, especially when your child’s other parent has a criminal record. If you are going through a custody battle with someone who has a criminal history, understanding your legal options is crucial. Keep reading to learn more about what the courts will consider and discover how a Nassau County child custody lawyer can help you navigate this complex and nuanced issue.
What Factors of a Criminal Record Will Impact a Custody Agreement?
When going through a custody battle, understanding how a criminal record can influence the outcome of awarding custody is vital. Generally, when one parent has a record, the courts will consider the following factors:
- When the offense or offenses occurred
- Who the victim or victims were
- The aggravating factors surrounding each offense
- When the offense was committed
- What the penalty for the violation was
For example, the courts will likely not deny custody to someone convicted of shoplifting fifteen years prior, especially if it was a one-off offense from their youth.
What Crimes Will the Courts Consider Heavily?
However, certain crimes carry more weight than others during a custody battle. This includes violent, drug, and sex crimes.
If someone is convicted of violent crimes like assault, abuse, domestic violence, or kidnapping, they will likely be denied custody as these crimes carry a significant amount of weight as the courts will consider the safety of the child. If they believe the child will be at risk if they spend time in the custody of a parent with a violent history.
Similarly, those convicted of drug crimes will likely not be able to obtain custody, as the court will fear for their ability to care for the child. Unfortunately, those suffering from addiction do not always think straight, and the drugs can impact their ability to properly care for a child. The courts may also fear that the child will be exposed to harmful substances when in the care of this parent.
Finally, sex crimes are often considered the most heinous. In New York, those convicted of first or second-degree rape, or first-degree sexual assault or sexual assault against a child legally cannot obtain custody, as the judge will automatically rule that it is not in the child’s best interest to reside with that parent. However, those convicted of less severe sex crimes may have limited custody or visitation rights.
What Should I Do if I’m Worried About My Child’s Safety?
If your child’s parent has a criminal record, understanding what your options are during your custody battle is essential. When you are worried about your child’s safety, you’ll want to contact a dedicated attorney as soon as possible.
At Barrows Levy, we understand how anxiety-inducing these custody battles can be. Contact our legal team today to learn more about how we can help you protect your child’s best interest.