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Does Getting Arrested Affect Child Custody?

Although an arrest is not a conviction, it could affect a child custody matter.

Maybe, but probably not. It is not in the best interests of children for them to associate with people who have police records. The type of arrest could matter as well. To most family law courts, sexual exploitation of a minor charge is much worse than an embezzlement charge, even though they both carry similar penalties. Additionally, a criminal arrest could have indirect effects. For example, a DUI arrest usually means a driver’s license suspension. If you cannot drive kids to soccer practice or go see their piano recitals, that looks bad.

An arrest is just one component of a child custody matter. A Fort Worth family law attorney must also account for factors like the age of the children, the children’s relationship with step-siblings, and the parent’s child custody preference.

Arrest vs. Conviction

Technically, as most people learn in civic class, there is a huge difference between an arrest and a conviction. But, from a practical standpoint, there is not much difference. The overwhelming majority of criminal defendants (over 95%) plead guilty. Furthermore, most people assume that if police officers arrest a person, that person probably did something wrong.

So, if an arrest comes up in a child custody or other family law case, a Fort Worth family law attorney must dispel these myths. Repeating a civics lesson usually is not enough to change a person’s mind. Instead, an attorney must address the matter head-on.

Frequently, lawyers pull the pin on these grenades. For example, if Doug was arrested for drug trafficking, his lawyer might address that point during a direct examination, so Doug has a chance to explain any extenuating circumstances. If it comes up during cross-examination, many jurors assume Doug was trying to hide something. Furthermore, Doug will not have a chance to explain his answer. He must simply answer yes or no.

“Bad” Arrests

As mentioned, not all arrests are created equally, at least as far as their family law impact is concerned. Bad arrests that could affect a child custody case include:

Frequently, if people have a bad arrest on their records, especially if that arrest took place within the last five years or after the most recent court order was entered, they should take a breath before they file child custody cases.

Rely on a Dedicated Tarrant County Family Law Attorney

Arrests could affect child custody cases. For a free consultation with an experienced family law attorney in Fort Worth, contact the Law Office of Kyle Whittaker. Convenient payment plans are available.