To err is to be human and some of us make worse off choices in our earlier years than some. Some of these earlier mistakes can lead to criminal charges that, though repented and paid for fairly by the conditions of the law, will continue to follow you throughout all the rest of your days. You can pay the fees and serve the time given to you but that charge will rival your shadow from that moment forward. It will affect how you are perceived professionally and all the more if you have to deal with more complicated legal matters – like, say, a divorce.
According to the website of Mark Lassiter, Attorney at Law, “good people sometimes find themselves in a difficult situation.” Like children, one mistake should not define your entire life, especially when you have atoned for it in every possible way. Sometimes, all you need is the chance but even an accusation can tarnish your reputation and give any opposing party power against you.
A family affair, divorce is complicated enough as it is and ever more so when the subject of child custody comes into play. A criminal record can definitely affect a child custody battle for it will depict a negative light on you, as a person and can be used as a means to deem you an unfit parent.
According to the website of the lawyers at Holmes, Diggs, Eames & Sadler, with regard to child custody during a divorce case scenario, it is the child’s best interest that must be taken into consideration. Complicated enough as it is, the existence of a criminal record from any party is liable to greatly affect your plea in court. A crime committed and properly paid for should not be the reason you lose custody of your child – talking to the right kind of people who can properly and fairly represent your case can make all the difference.
The factors considered by states in determining divorce-related issues, especially child custody and visitation rights, often differ from each other. With regard to the issues mentioned, however, there is one unifying basis of decision in all states: the best interest of the child.
As some Cedar Rapids divorce lawyers may tell you, the factors that may actually be conceived as ensuring and promoting “the best interests of the child” can be subjected to debate, though. This is obviously the reason why one factor is considered in one state, while in another, it is not. Nevertheless, the following are what states believe as important bases in making a decision:
- The amount of involvement each parent has given and can give the child in his/her activities
- The level of relationship between the child and his/her parents
- The parents’ individual lifestyle, health and financial stability
- Factors that can affect a child’s academic performance, such as parental care, availability of parent
- Whenever the child would need his/her time and attention
- The age and gender of the child
- The possible physical, emotional and health risks in the environment where each parent lives
For many centuries up until the latter part of the 20th century, two practices became prevalent where child custody was the issue: the Tender Years doctrine and the Maternal Preference doctrine. In both practices custody of the child was always awarded by judges to mothers as judges believed that mothers were naturally more capable of providing all the love and attention that children need (it was only through proving that the mother was unfit for the father to be given custodial rights). These doctrines have been abolished, though, and began to be replaced by the “the best interest of the child” doctrine during the last quarter of the 20th century due to the belief that the old practices violated the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Despite the doctrine being abolished and their perceived violation of the equal protection clause, many judges still end up favoring mothers and, so, award to them custody, especially of young children.
Many courts, as much as possible, decide to award custody to both parents in consideration of the new doctrine and the belief that it is very important that a child develops a strong bond with both of his/her parents. However, there is no certainty that joint custody will be the decision a court will make, unless it sees both parents as fit, will contribute well in the child’s development and that the decision will be in the child’s best interests. Seeking the help of a lawyer whose knowledge and experience in child custody law and proceedings, respectively, is exceptional, will definitely help the parent attain the sole of joint custody that he/she wants.