Will a Prior Criminal Charge Affect My Chances at Custody?

Will a criminal charge stop me from getting custody in Idaho?

Going through a custody battle during the initial divorce case, a custody establishment case, or a subsequent modification case is difficult. When you add on the fact that there is a lingering past conviction in the mix, it is intimidating. We deal with situations involving criminal charges on a daily basis including a significant number of cases where we obtain custody for our clients that have prior records. That being said, it is still an issue that you and your attorney will need to address and be proactive about.

Whether you have a prior criminal charge can affect the chances of getting the custody schedule that you are shooting for. However, the prior criminal charge is not the “be all end all” factor when the court is looking at how to award child custody in Boise or anywhere in Idaho.

When the court is looking at who to award custody to, they look at the entire picture, including any past arrests. However, they will specifically look at the following factors:

  • The wishes of the both parents
  • The wishes of the child/children
  • The interaction and interrelationship of the child/children with his or her parents or parents and his or her siblings
  • The child’s adjustment to his or her home, school, and community
  • The character and circumstances of all individuals involved
  • The need to promote continuity and stability in the life of the child
  • Domestic violence, whether or not the domestic violence happened in front of the kids

So, obviously, if your prior criminal charge is domestic violence, it happened between you and your ex, or you and one of the minor children, there are going to be some issues that need to be addressed in the case to assure the court that awarding you custody does not place the children at risk of harm or neglect in your care. That can be done in a few ways, one being to take some classes related to domestic violence, anger management, and child protection before the trial takes place in your case.

However, if you have a different charge, the Court will consider that, and presumably, will be included in its mandatory review of the “character and circumstances of all parties involved” factor. Whether your criminal charge is domestic violence, assault, drug possession, or DUI, the Court is ultimately going to consider how that fits into the equation of what is in the best interest of the children. They will look at:

  • The nature of the charge
  • The severity of the charge
  • The time that has passed since the charge
  • Whether the charge was violent in nature
  • Whether you have or have not violated your probation after the plea or conviction
  • And other factors that would help in determining whether the charge would affect your ability to care for the children and whether the charge is an indication that the children would or would not be safe in your care.

So, if you are currently involved, or are looking at moving forward with a divorce that involves minor children or a child custody case, contact the Idaho Divorce Lawyers to schedule a free consultation to see if we can help.

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