When making a child custody decision, the New Jersey family court will look into the backgrounds of both parents. And with a criminal record in your background, this may affect your chances of being granted joint custody, if any custody or visitation rights at all. Read on to discover the possibility of a child custody decision landing in your favor if you have a criminal record and how one of the seasoned Sussex County, Sparta child custody attorneys at Paris P. Eliades Esq. can work on your behalf.
Can a child custody decision land in my favor if I have a criminal record?
Ultimately, the circumstances surrounding your criminal record will heavily influence the New Jersey family court’s decision on whether to grant you custody rights. That is, they will look into the following factors:
- The number of criminal offenses you have on your record.
- The length of time since you committed the criminal offense(s).
- The nature of the crime(s) you committed.
- The sentence you received for the crime(s) you committed.
- Whether the victim of the crime(s) you committed was your spouse or child.
For example, say you were convicted of a nonviolent crime like drug possession. And say that this conviction occurred even before your child was born, and you have since attended substance abuse programs to better yourself. In a case like this, the court may not automatically write off the possibility of granting you custody rights.
On the other hand, say that you were convicted of a violent crime like domestic violence. And say that you made your spouse and child the victims in these instances. In a case like this, the court will likely conclude that you are an unfit parent. So, they may not even grant you as much as supervised visitation rights.
What other factors can play into a child custody decision?
Even if your criminal record is clean, the New Jersey family court may consider you an unfit parent for other reasons. Examples in which you would be deemed as parentally unfit are as follows:
- You have a history of alcohol abuse.
- You have a history of drug abuse.
- You have a history of institutionalization for mental issues.
- You have a history of neglecting your child while they were under your care.
- You have a history of abandoning your child while they were under your care.
- You have a history of kidnapping your child while they were under your spouse’s care.
- You have a history of sabotaging your child’s relationship with their other parent.
We understand just how desperately you may want to maintain a relationship with your child after your divorce. This is why we recommend that you retain the services of a competent Sparta, NJ children and parenting issues attorney today.