How a Criminal Record Can Affect Parenting & Timesharing
Parents always retain the right to draft their own parenting plan. They can allocate time sharing as they see fit, and most judges will sign off on an agreement. However, when parents cannot agree on a parenting plan, a judge must come up with something, and judges decide time sharing based on the best interests of the child.
A criminal record can definitely come into play during a child custody dispute. A judge will consider the severity of the crime as well as when it happened. Meet with a Jupiter parenting & timesharing lawyer to review your circumstances and prepare for divorce.
How Judges View Criminal Convictions
The best interests of the child analysis affords judges discretion as to how they allocate parenting time. Judges will analyze a criminal conviction based on the following:
- Nature of the offense. Were you convicted of a misdemeanor or a felony? Was it a violent felony? Were drugs or a firearm involved?
- Number of offenses. Multiple criminal convictions look a lot worse than just one. When a judge sees several convictions, he probably assumes that you have not rehabilitated yourself.
- When you committed the offense. If you committed the crime recently, that looks worse than if you were convicted decades ago.
- Your sentence for the conviction. If you served time in jail, then this could more negatively impact you.
- The identity of the victim of the offense. Did you victimize a stranger or someone that you knew? Judges will view domestic violence especially negatively. In particular, any crime committed against one of your children could result in all visitation being supervised.
These are the most important factors, but there may be others. You should meet with a Jupiter parenting lawyer to review.
How to Minimize the Impact of a Criminal Conviction
There are steps we can take to minimize the negative impact from a conviction, but we need to know about them first. Always disclose criminal conviction along with any accusations, since those could also come up in a hearing.
Based on our experience, we can recommend steps to take to minimize the impact. For example, if you have convictions for drugs or DUI, then we encourage you to finish a 12-step program or other treatment. This will show the judge that you are serious about avoiding a repeat offense.
You also should satisfy all conditions of your punishment. For example, if you were ordered to perform community service, don’t delay. Pay all fines and any restitution ordered. These actions show that you are taking responsibility for the crime.
We can also emphasize other facts, such as a stable work history to show that you are a reliable person. If you do not have a steady job, we can recommend volunteering or getting involved in a local church.
Speak to Us Today
A criminal conviction does not prevent someone from obtaining meaningful time with their children. At Caroline Olson, P.A., our firm is committed to helping parents maintain healthy and on-going bonds with their children. We have offices in Jupiter, Boca Raton, and Plantation. Schedule your free initial consultation today.