Feb 21, 2018

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What are my visitation rights after a criminal conviction?

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If a parent is convicted of a crime, they are usually concerned about how it will affect their custody agreements and visitation rights. There is no perfectly correct way to predict how this will change your parenting schedule as no situation is exactly like another. In some cases, a court may make changes to custody orders due to a criminal conviction.

How is the child affected?

Courts prefer to keep a consistent schedule when dealing with family law and don’t typically make changes to a child’s routine unnecessarily. The specific criminal conviction is considered when deciding whether to change a custody order. Most importantly, they want to determine if the behavior that led to the crime could influence their presence with their child and if it will have negative effects on the child. In order to decide, the court looks for unquestionable evidence that it is best to change the order.

  • Types of convictions regarding domestic violence, assault or substance abuse problems are all behavioral issues that could influence your custody agreement.
  • A conviction as a result of illegal sexual behavior is also a likely ignition for change.
  • Something like a bounced check might not have as much weight in custody decisions.

Conditions on Parent Time

A court can place any condition on parental visitation if it will benefit the child. Conditions based on the nature of the conviction that affect parenting time can also be added to changes on custody agreements. For example, a conviction related to Driving Under the Influence (DUI) might result in a court order requiring a third party to transport the children. Possession of drugs in your home may limit your parenting to public space or supervision only. Sometimes drug tests could be required to maintaining parenting time.

Parental Involvement

Unless it is detrimental to the child’s well-being, the court is going to encourage both parents to have a relationship with the child. If it is possible, the court wants both parents to have parenting time available. The court will even arrange for supervised visitation if necessary for a parent. Professional organizations and third party individuals can be allowed by the court to facilitate supervision for visitation. However, a court can also change a custody order or visitation of a non-parent who is involved with the children. If this non-parent has received a criminal conviction and the court believes they are a bad influence, the court can prevent a child from living or visiting with this non-parent.

A Skilled Attorney Can Help

A parent facing a criminal charge or has received a conviction should look to hire a skilled attorney, like a family lawyer Tampa FL trusts. An attorney can help you decide what is best for your family and maintain your family relationship. If your case goes to court, an attorney can help you present well and hopefully maintain your custody agreement, or alter it favorably.  


Thanks to our friends and contributors from The Mckinney Law Group for their insight into family law.