Having criminal charges on a person’s record can bring many unique challenges to someone’s life.  For those who have a record, or know someone who does, you are probably familiar with the obstacles a felony or misdemeanor can bring, even after that person has served time or paid fines as part of their punishment.  For example, it can be difficult to obtain certain loans, seek jobs in various industries and so forth.  One concern many parents find themselves in has to do with custody and if their criminal background can affect their ability to have primary or shared custody of their children.  Below are some of the considerations courts may take when determining how previous criminal charges can impact custodial or parental rights.

Criminal charges and custody in Utah

The main goal of family courts is to enforce what is deemed to be in the best interest of the children.  In general, the court system will favor a decision that allows both parents to be a part of the lives of their children.  This is true even if one parent is awarded primary custody, while the other has shared custody, visitation, and other parental rights.  If one parent, however, is deemed unfit, or unsafe they may find themselves with limited or even fully revoked parental rights.  Every case is unique and so are the factors that determine what can potentially happen in each family law case in Utah.

Take, for example, a non-violent crime that happened a decade ago, such as fraud or other typical white-collar crimes.  This is far less likely to significantly affect the court’s decision as opposed to other crimes.  Domestic violence, abuse, and drug charges play a far larger role as it can show a potential sign of danger to kids and other dependents.  The frequency of charges and how long ago they happened also plays a factor.  If someone has several charges that have happened within the last couple of years, they may have difficulties with how the court is going to view their circumstances and the ability to provide for their kids.  We invite you to contact our office at (801) 393-1106 to speak with a legal professional to learn more about child custody and criminal convictions in Utah.

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