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How will criminal charges affect child custody?

Your divorce may be over, but that does not mean you will never again have to deal with divorce-related matters. Modifications to child custody, child support and alimony are possible when major life circumstances change.

One of those changes may be facing criminal charges and temporarily or permanently being in prison. This scenario will undoubtedly affect parenting time and other aspects of the divorce order in the following ways.

Child custody 

Parental rights may depend on the nature and severity of the crime, but in general, you should be able to maintain these rights. If you have custody over your children, you can give legal authority through the proper paperwork to a trusted family member or friend to care for your children in your absence.

Keep in touch with your children throughout your incarceration, as a lack of involvement can signal to the court that you are not interested in maintaining a relationship with your children. This can hurt your case should someone else try to take your children, such as a stepparent wanting to adopt them.

Another option is to make arrangements with the other parent if he or she also has custody of the children. You must be explicit in these arrangements to ensure you regain your custody and parenting time once you are no longer incarcerated.

Child support

The court determines the payment amount for child support based on your income. You must notify the court of the change in your income in order to receive a lower or eliminated payment obligation. If you do not and fail to pay child support, you will face penalties. Even sending small amounts each month is better than nothing, as it shows effort to comply.

You may have to worry about both criminal and family law matters at the same time. It is important to have proper legal representation, because what goes on in one case affects the other.

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