Can a parent’s criminal record affect their custodial rights?

Every New Hampshire family law judge has one pressing obligation when rendering decisions in child custody cases. Their primary responsibility is to make decisions that are in the kids’ best interests.

The court may weigh various factors when determining the best choice to make on a child’s behalf. A parent’s criminal past is but one factor that could affect the determinations that the court makes.

Some criminal offenses may cause judges to second-guess custody

Family law judges must ensure that a child’s home environment is safe. Therefore, they may refuse to award custody to any parent with previous domestic violence, assault or child abuse convictions on their records.

The court may also decline to award custody to a parent if they have a prior driving while intoxicated (DWI) or arrest for drug charges on their records. This is out of an abundance of caution in case the parents have an untreated addiction that may adversely impact the choices they make.

Judges may be concerned that parents with prior DWI convictions could again get behind the wheel while intoxicated. They may fear that a parent with previous drug charges may bring unsavory individuals into their home or be unable to care for their child’s needs.

The terms and conditions of a parent’s parole or probation may restrict their ability to exercise parental responsibilities. A judge may temporarily remove a child from their custody until the parent’s post-conviction restrictions conclude if the child is shown to be in imminent danger of harm.

Will your criminal conviction affect your custodial rights?

The court won’t likely see all criminal convictions the same, especially if you can show how you’ve grown from your past indiscretions.

A child custody attorney here in Londonderry will want to know more about your past criminal history, your current lifestyle and past and present relationship with your child. Your lawyer will then be able to give you a better perspective as to how your criminal record might impact your New Hampshire custodial rights.