How Do Criminal Charges Affect Your Timesharing Case?
In all 50 states, a judge determines custody based on what is in the best interests of the child. So when one or both parents involved in a timesharing dispute is a convicted felon, the judge must ask him or herself: would granting that parent or parents custody really be in the best interest of the child? Though the judge will give a lot of weight to a parent’s character, they will not automatically revoke custody rights based on a criminal conviction. At the Law Offices of Schwartz | White, our child custody attorneys fight to preserve the rights of our clients and their children. Whether this means ensuring that a felonious parent does not receive more than supervised visitation, or helping a one-time offender protect his or her parental rights, our attorneys fight on behalf of our clients to achieve the best possible outcome for everyone involved.
How a Judge Decides Custody When One Parent is a Felon
In Florida, a felony conviction is not automatic grounds for termination of parental rights. In coming up with a custody arrangement that preserves the best interests of the child, a Florida judge will take the following factors into consideration:
- The victim of the offense;
- The type of offense committed;
- The age at which the conviction occurred;
- How long ago the offense was committed;
- The nature of the sentence; and
- Whether or not the convicted parent has multiple convictions.
When a child custody case involves a parent who is a convicted felon, the judge will not determine custody lightly. The judge will weigh everything from the nature of the prior offense (was it a misunderstanding, or a domestic violence charge?) to the victim of the prior offense (was it a peer, or was it a child?). The judge’s main concern is to protect the child, a job best completed by thoroughly assessing the risk that the convicted parent poses to the child.
The Nature and Frequency of Criminal Convictions
A judge will give more weight to offenses that are likely to have a negative impact on the child’s well being, such as convictions of child abuse, sexual assault, domestic violence, and substance abuse. These types of offenses demonstrate anger management, violence issues, and above all, an inability to control oneself. If a judge feels that a parent has no control over his or her own actions, they will likely make sure that the convicted parent receives nothing but supervised visitation with their child.
In addition to the nature of the offense, the judge will want to know how many times the parent has been convicted of a felony. If the incident that landed the parent in jail was an isolated one, if it happened years before the child was born, and if the parent sought professional help or intervention upon his or her return to society, the judge is not likely to give the conviction much weight. However, if the parent is a repeat offender who has shown no desire to change his or her ways, the judge will likely order supervised visitation. Even if the parent has never laid a hand on the child, a repeat offender is likely to drift in and out of jail and poses a threat of an unstable home environment.
Consult with a Boca Raton Timesharing Lawyer
If you are involved in a child custody case in which one parent is a convicted felon, contact the Law Offices of Schwartz | White. Our Boca Raton timesharing attorneys are here to protect your parental rights, and to ensure that the final custody agreement only furthers your child’s best interests. To schedule a private consultation with one of our child custody attorneys today, call 561.391.9943 today, or schedule your appointment online.