Criminal charges can impact your custody case
When a couple is divorcing or going through a custody battle, emotions run high. When disagreements or interactions escalate, it’s not uncommon for one party to threaten to use something in the other person’s past against them. Married couples or those who have been in serious relationships often share various private details of their pasts, but this can backfire when the relationship ends.
Having past criminal convictions does not automatically decrease your chances of being awarded custody — whether it be a sole or joint custody situation — and in many cases, it may not factor in at all. However, this really largely depends on the nature of the offense and how long ago it was. A minor property crime conviction from 10 years ago would likely have much less bearing than a drunk driving conviction in the past year, for example.
However, recent convictions or pending charges can impact your case. This is especially true if the offenses are violent or in relation to a substance abuse problem. Again, this does not mean that you will automatically be unable to fight for custody of your children, but you may have to face some hurdles.
If you have experience with the criminal or civil courts, you may think that going through a divorce in the family courts will be the same thing. However, this isn’t quite the case.
Family court judges are often given much more leeway in interpreting the laws and how they may be applied to different situations. It’s important to discuss any past criminal convictions or current charges with your attorney to ensure you are prepared if these things are brought up in court.