Can an Arrest Impact Your Custody Rights?
Florida courts make custody determinations (called time-sharing and parenting determinations under Florida law) based on what the judge finds is in the best interests of the child. Many factors should be examined and considered when making custody decisions, including the criminal history of each parent. Many parents wonder whether or not an arrest will impact their custody rights, and the answer depends on the specific circumstances of your arrest and criminal case.
Why Were You Arrested?
The first thing to consider is why the arrest happened in the first place. If the arrest was for minor shoplifting, for example, the court would likely find the matter unrelated to your ability to properly care for your child, and the judge might not consider the arrest at all. However, arrests on suspicion of certain offenses can be relevant to child custody cases. These can include:
-Domestic violence or child abuse -Stalking -Aggravated assault -Sex crimes against children -Kidnapping -Homicide
If the alleged offense involves harm to a child, endangering a child, or violent tendencies, the court will likely take it into account when deciding whether to grant you custody rights.
Some other offenses that may or may not impact your custody rights include drug possession and driving under the influence (DUI). On the one hand, possessing a small amount of drugs or driving after drinking might not reflect on your parenting abilities. However, the judge will look to see if this is part of a larger pattern of reckless behavior that might endanger the child.
What Happened after Your Arrest?
In the United States criminal justice system, you are supposed to be presumed innocent until proven guilty. This means that a family judge should not assume that you committed an offense until you plead guilty or are convicted in court. However, if you are arrested for child neglect, abuse, or a related charge, and the court believes that your child might be in immediate danger, an arrest might be enough to temporarily suspend your custody rights. If you are later acquitted of the charges or your case gets dismissed, the judge should then adjust the custody order accordingly.
How an Attorney Can Help
If you have been arrested, it is critical to have an experienced child custody lawyer representing you in family court. Even if your custody rights might be in jeopardy due to a criminal matter, we can still fight for you to see your child as much as possible. This might require supervised visitation sessions, which will need to be scheduled and in the presence of a designated adult. However, this can be a better situation than losing your time-sharing rights altogether.
Contact Our Brandon Child Custody Attorney for Help Today
At the law firm of Carman, Bevington & Finegan, P.A., we know an arrest should not automatically impact your parenting rights. If you need assistance with any type of custody matter, please call us at 813-654-3444 or contact us online as soon as possible.