Many Virginia residents who have criminal records are parents. Those who are parents of young children might wonder if their criminal record can affect child custody proceedings.
What factors can impact child custody when a parent has a criminal record?
Every situation is different, which means that when child custody is determined, the judge will take a wide variety of factors into consideration. Two key factors are the crime itself and the victim. Usually, if the crime involved physical or psychological abuse, the parent will not get custody of the child. Certain crimes that can prevent a parent from custody include homicide, aggravated assault, kidnapping and stalking.
The judge will also want to know whether the crime involved a misdemeanor or felony charge. A felony is far more serious, which can impact child custody to a greater degree.
In most cases, if domestic violence or sex crimes were involved, the parent is unlikely to get custody of the child. This is especially true if the victim was a child. No matter the situation, the court will always do what’s in the best interests of the child when determining custody.
Does it matter if the criminal record is old?
A parent with a criminal record might wonder if their child custody rights will be affected based on the age of their record. If the crime occurred several years in the past or if there was never a conviction, the judge might decide that they are entitled to child custody. If the crime took place long before the child was even born, it is unlikely to affect the parent’s ability to enjoy custody rights.
At the same time, an old criminal record might not necessarily mean that the parent would get child custody. The specific factors of the crime, the victim and more would still be taken into consideration when custody is decided.