A criminal record can negatively affect a Georgia parent’s child custody and visitation rights. The child’s best interest is the focus on matters pertaining to child custody and visitation. A judge might feel a criminal record indicates an inability to provide competent parenting.
Charge vs. conviction
Being convicted of a crime isn’t the same as being charged. If you’re convicted of a crime, it means you were found guilty in a court of law and have a criminal record. A charge means you’re accused, but the crime hasn’t been proven. But if the charges are dropped or you’re found not guilty, you’ll still have a criminal record.
A charge isn’t necessarily as serious as a conviction. However, the seriousness of the charge is taken into account. The other parent can request emergency custody or temporary custody while the case is pending.
Each situation is taken on a case-by-case basis. But some felonies always prevent a parent from getting child custody. These felonies are:
- Sexual assault
- Assault with a deadly weapon
The judge will make a distinction between a charge and a conviction. There are also other factors taken into account. For example, the judge will want to know who is the victim. If the victim is a child, the court might allow the parent to have limited supervised visitation rights or limited child custody.
If illegal drugs or alcohol use are involved, this can also affect the outcome. Mind-altering substances can affect a parent’s ability to care for their child. But in this case, the court might require the parent to have routine drug testing. As long as the parent remains substance-free, it’s possible they can have custody or visitation rights.
The court’s concern is ensuring the child lives in a stable environment. Just because a parent has a criminal record doesn’t necessarily mean that person is a bad parent. However, a criminal record can negatively impact child custody and visitation.