Caring, Professional and Ethical

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Can a criminal record affect child custody in Indiana?

On Behalf of | Sep 8, 2023 | Child Custody

A criminal record can affect child custody IN Indiana. Family courts must do what’s best for the child, and this includes thoroughly looking into each parent’s background to see if there are factors that may put children at risk. A criminal record can indicate that a parent may be unfit to raise children. As a result, the parent with the criminal record might have an issue with custody or visitation rights.

A charge or a conviction?

A conviction is usually more detrimental than a charge when considering child custody. A conviction means you’ve been tried in court and found guilty. A charge means you’re accused of a crime but are assumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law.

A judge will consider the severity of the crime when deciding what’s best for the child. If the case is pending, the judge might give emergency custody or temporary custody to the other parent. Family court is unlikely to grant child custody or visitation rights to a parent with certain felony convictions.

A felony or a misdemeanor?

A felony is a serious crime that carries harsher punishment than a misdemeanor. Kidnapping, stalking, murder, sexual assault and assault with a deadly weapon are examples of felonies that can interfere with child custody rights.

If a parent is guilty of any of the felonies above, it doesn’t necessarily mean they can’t get child custody or visitation rights. These felonies will damage their case, but a judge will examine the circumstances of each incident before making a decision.

Was a child involved?

The judge will take the victim into account. A parent with a history of violence against children is unlikely to fare well in the case of child custody. And if their own child is the victim of the crime, it’s almost guaranteed that the parent won’t get custody or visitation rights.

Were there drugs or alcohol involved?

People often commit crimes under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Even if the crime isn’t serious, the use of mind-altering substances is a concern. If the parent regularly uses drugs or alcohol, that can affect their ability to care for their child. The judge in a child custody case will consider that when making a decision.

A criminal record can hurt a parent’s chances of getting child custody or visitation rights. However, having a record doesn’t automatically mean the parent can’t possibly get some sort of custody or visitation rights because each case is different. A judge will make that determination.