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Can criminal charges affect a parent's child custody rights?

Our readers may be aware that when it comes to matters related to the custody of kids, the best interests of the children will generally guide legal proceedings. The "best interests" standard is subjective and allows courts to craft child custody arrangements that take into consideration the unique familial characteristics that may impact the welfare of the affected children. A number of considerations, including a parent's criminal record, may be reviewed when a child custody matter is being established or modified.

For example, if a parent is found to have abused or otherwise mistreated their children, that parent may have a harder time getting custody than the child's other parent. Additionally, a parent who is incarcerated will be unable to hold physical custody of their children and may be denied legal custody as well due to their limited access to their kids.

In situations in which neither parent is in a place where they can provide for their children's best interests, a third party may be placed in charge of the children's welfare. A court may award a grandparent, aunt or uncle or other adult relative custodial rights over a child in the event that the child's parents are deemed unfit or unavailable to serve as their physical and legal custodians.

A criminal charge on its own may not be enough to fully deprive a parent of custodial rights to their kids. Each case must be evaluated based on its own facts. As with all family law matters, it is imperative that individuals speak to their family law attorneys about how arrests and convictions may affect their rights with regard to their kids.

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