If a person has been convicted of a crime, it could have an impact on whether or not that person is allowed to see his or her children. However, it is not a given that parental rights will be limited or terminated completely. A judge will review the evidence and look at all relevant factors before making a final decision regarding a parent’s rights to see or contact a child. It is critical to review your rights with an experienced Criminal Defense attorney such as the Criminal Defense Lawyer DC locals trust.
What Was the Crime?
One of the most important facts that would need to be considered is what type of crime was committed. If a parent was convicted for jaywalking or possession of marijuana, those actions may not pose a danger to the child. However, if a parent is convicted of a violent crime such as robbery with a weapon or aggravated assault, that could potentially pose a danger to the child. In that scenario, a parent may have his or her rights to be around a son or daughter limited or terminated.
Does the Parent Have a Criminal History?
Generally, a parent will have the opportunity to atone for past mistakes if he or she wishes to stay in a child’s life. However, if a parent has a criminal history, a future conviction may be an indication that an individual isn’t ready to be a mature adult capable of helping to raise a child. At a minimum, a parent will have his or her rights to a child suspended or severely limited. Those who choose to change their ways may be given those rights back over time.
How Does the Parent Act Around the Child?
It is possible that a parent is able to separate whatever he or she does away from the child from how he or she acts around the child. In other words, a parent could be a violent or unscrupulous person around his or her peers while acting in a kind and loving manner around the child. While this doesn’t guarantee that a parent wouldn’t lose visitation or other rights to a son or daughter, it may increase the odds of retaining some sort of contact.
A Child Needs Two Parents
Research has shown that a child does better when he or she has a relationship with both parents. Therefore, a judge may be loathe to terminate visitation or other contact rights unless absolutely necessary. Even if a parent is unable to visit with a child directly, there are ways to ensure that he or she is able to stay in touch with a minor.
For instance, parents may be allowed to contact their children by phone or engage in supervised visitation. Since the top priority is maintaining the best interest of the child, visitation rights may be maintained even if the other parent doesn’t agree with it.
It may seem logical that parents who have a criminal record shouldn’t be around children. However, the context of the conviction is often more important than the conviction itself. While a custodial parent may move to restrict a noncustodial parent’s access to his or her child, the law may allow some wiggle room in determining how to proceed.
A special thanks to our Author at Fred Brynn Law for their insight into Criminal Law.