Multiple different personal and family factors influence what happens in a child custody dispute. Whether you are about to divorce or have split up with a partner that you never married, both of you probably want to stay active in the lives of the children. Splitting up parenting time and other responsibilities takes a lot of planning.
If you can’t reach your own settlement regarding how you share custody, then the Arizona family courts will make those arrangements for you. Specific details ranging from the age of your children and your work schedule to your personal behavior can influence custody decisions in Arizona.
Will your criminal record have any influence on custody proceedings?
Certain criminal offenses can hurt your custody case
The judge making custody determinations in an Arizona family law case has to focus on the best interests of the children when making those decisions. Typically, modern judges do their best to arrange joint custody solutions that work for the family, but they may award one parent sole custody if the other has a problematic personal history.
A criminal record that involves a conviction for domestic violence or drug offenses could limit your custody rights. Even alcohol-related offenses can affect custody decisions. A conviction for driving under the influence within 12 months of a custody case would force the judge to carefully consider whether joint custody would be good for the kids.
Remember that your custody outcome isn’t set in stone
If you currently have blemishes on your criminal history that you think might affect custody, you may still want to ask for joint custody in your Arizona divorce. While a judge may rule against you now, showing your interest in and dedication to the kids can help you later.
Once enough time has passed after your conviction and you have established a history of stable behavior, you may be able to go back to the courts and ask for a modification of your custody order. Especially if you have undergone treatments for the issues that affected your parenting rights initially, a judge may agree to increase your time with the children later.
Learning about your rights as a parent facing a custody dispute in Arizona can help you protect your relationship with your children.