An arrest or conviction may affect your parental rights in Illinois. Having a criminal history can lead to challenges when trying to gain custody or visitation with your children, referred to in Illinois as allocation of parenting time and responsibility.
Courts consider the best interests of the child when making child custody determinations. Typically, a court will lean toward an arrangement where both parents can share the responsibility of making important decisions for their children and strive for roughly equal parenting time where possible. However, depending on the circumstances surrounding a criminal arrest or conviction, shared responsibility and parenting time may not be in the best interests of the child.
A judge can consider any relevant issues including a prior criminal history or more recent criminal activity. He or she will look at the nature of the crimes committed to answer questions such as: Is there a history of violence or sexual misconduct? Who was victimized? Were there drugs and alcohol involved? Did an arrest result in charges being filed and, if so, was the case dismissed or was there an acquittal, or is there a conviction on the record? Is the criminal activity isolated, committed long ago? Or has the parent recently had a brush with the law, perhaps even during a pending child custody determination? A judge will consider any factors that are of consequence to the child – the child’s best interests are paramount when allocating parenting time and responsibility in Illinois.
If you are concerned that previous criminal behavior or a more recent arrest will impact your child custody case, it is important to seek help from an experienced Illinois child custody lawyer to defend your rights. If you are a parent who believes that a child’s parent poses a risk to your child because of a history of drug abuse, domestic violence or other concerns, seeking the help of an attorney familiar with issues related to domestic abuse is key. Contact the Libertyville, Illinois Law Offices of Schlesinger & Strauss LLC for a free consultation at 847-680-4970.