Custody Rights: Can You Lose Them If You Endangered Children Before?

Can You Lose Custody Rights With a History of Child Endangerment?

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Child custody cases depend on a number of important factors. One of those factors is the child endangerment history of both parents. If you or the other parent have a history of endangerment, then you could lose your custody rights. Find out how your history of child endangerment can impact your custody case.

How Does Endangerment Impact Child Custody?

During child custody hearings, a judge makes many important considerations. For one, she needs to consider the bond between a child and a parent. Additionally, she needs to decide what is in the best interest of the child. However, much of the judge’s decision relies on past behavior of each parent. And if your past behavior resulted in child endangerment, then you may have a problem.

Child endangerment occurs when you knowingly put your child in harm’s way. It does not matter whether the harm is physical or mental. Whether negligence or recklessness was the cause of endangerment, an individual could face charges. Endangerment comes in many forms. For example, it could be something minor, like leaving a child unattended. However, it could be something more serious, like driving drunk with a child in your car.

Although child endangerment charges vary in severity, the court always takes them seriously. If you have a past child endangerment charge, then a judge will hold it against you in your battle for custody rights.

Why Does it Matter?

Children depend on their parents for everything. If you can’t keep your child safe from harm, then a judge might think that you are unsafe to be a parent. Even one endangerment incident is enough for her to believe that you might be unfit to be a parent. In a custody case, a judge needs to decide what is best for a child based on the information that she has about the parents. If that information points to you being an unfit parent, then she will take it into consideration.

Of course, child endangerment doesn’t always make you an unfit parent. Sometimes, you are a victim of circumstance. Although a judge might look into the situation surrounding your charges, it might not make a difference. The judge could still decide to deny you basic custody rights. It depends on the judge, your lawyer, and the fitness of the other parent.

What Could Happen?

If a judge believes that your endangerment charges are less serious, she may still choose to take away some custody rights. Instead of completely taking away your rights, she could do the following:

  • Reduce the amount of visitation hours that you get
  • Prevent you from getting any overnight visits with your child
  • Only allow you to have supervised visitation. In this case, a third-party would monitor every one of your visits

The amount of restrictions that you face depend on many other factors. However, these restrictions are only common in minor endangerment charges. If your charge was a serious offense, then the judge could choose to withhold all of your rights as a parent.

As with many other issues, judges have a great deal of flexibility when it comes to making a decision. There is no set standard for behavior. While judges need to adhere to rules and regulations, they don’t have to rely on a set protocol for making a ruling. For example, one judge might believe that child endangerment of any kind is unacceptable. If he feels that way, then he could choose to withhold all of your rights as a parent. Meanwhile, another judge could have a different opinion. She could believe that child endangerment does not mean that you should lose your rights. Instead of withholding them all, she might offer you supervised visitation.

The only way to know what could happen in your custody case is to speak to a lawyer. When your lawyer assesses your case, he can tell you about the possible outcomes. He can also come up with a strategy to get you the best possible outcome. Without getting expert legal advice, there is no way for you to know what to expect in court.

Fighting for Your Custody Rights

If you have a history of child endangerment, then you need to fight hard for your custody rights. Even a minor incident is enough for a judge to limit your rights. When you go to court, a judge will take the incident very seriously. You need an experienced lawyer to stand up for you in court.

Your child endangerment history might not be a reason to deny you custody rights. After all, everyone makes mistakes. If your charges were a misunderstanding or a genuine mistake, then you deserve a second chance. A lawyer can explain the situation to a judge. He might be able to get you the custody agreement that you want. However, it’s not easy. Contact a lawyer today to find out what he can do for you.

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