It is relatively easier for married couples who don’t have children to get a divorce. But for divorcing parents, the topmost concern is getting child custody.
Child custody disputes are often challenging, especially when both parents provide the court with compelling arguments. Both parents are interested in winning either physical or legal custody of their kids as soon as possible.
Like in any other state, the courts in Minnesota also consider the best interest of the children when settling custody disputes. That’s why, the criminal history of both parents plays a critical role in determining child custody. If you have a criminal record, no matter how insignificant, you should consult an experienced child custody lawyer in Brainerd, MN before taking any decision.
Let’s see how the process works and whether you can win a child custody battle despite having a criminal record.
1. How Is Child Custody Determined in Brainerd, MN
In Minnesota, you need to meet the residency requirements to file for child custody. The law states that the child must have lived with the parent or the person acting as a parent for at least six consecutive months. There are exceptions to this rule. However, it is better to consult an experienced child custody lawyer in Brainerd, MN to understand whether these exceptions apply in your case.
Like most other states, Minnesota also offers two primary forms of child custody: physical custody and legal custody. Physical custody determines which parent the children can stay with. Usually, one of the parents gets physical custody. In some cases, however, both parents can share joint physical custody of their children.
On the other hand, legal custody determines which parent will have the right to make decisions about the upbringing of the children. It usually gives you the right to make decisions regarding religion, medical treatment, and education, among other things.
2. Factors Considered to Determine the Child Custody
Keeping the best interests of the children in mind is top priority when making child custody decisions in Minnesota. As per the Minnesota law, the courts consider 12 different factors when determining child custody.
First on the list is the physical safety and mental well-being of the children, followed by their educational and medical needs. The court will also consider children’s preferences if they are old enough. Furthermore, the court will take into account parenting time, social development of the children, physical and mental fitness of parents, financial situation, and willingness of both parents to cooperate.
However, each child custody case is different. That’s why you are better off consulting an experienced child custody lawyer in Brainerd, MN before making any decision. It is also possible to resolve custody issues amicably or through mediation, which is less stressful and more affordable.
3. Can You Win a Child Custody Battle Despite a Criminal Record?
When determining child custody in Minnesota, the court will look at your and your spouse’s criminal history. They will also check the criminal record of your new partner if you are in a relationship. However, the family court will look at your criminal history from the perspective of how it could affect your ability to raise the children.
In other words, if your criminal record consists of felony offenses and convictions, you are less likely to win a child custody battle. For example, if you have a history of violence, it will most certainly affect your ability to get custody even if the crime was committed before the child was born.
If you have been convicted of crimes like domestic violence, sexual abuse, and child abuse, the court is more likely to sack your rights as a parent. The court will take this decision based on the logical assumption that it is not in the best interest of the children to stay with a violent and/or abusive parent.
However, if you have an isolated incident, such as underage drinking or a DUI, you are still likely to win a child custody battle as the family court will be considerate. Also, if you are being charged with a crime and not yet convicted, your experienced child custody lawyer in Brainerd, MN can pursue the court to put less weight on charges compared to a conviction.
But, if you are convicted of the said crime, it could result in the revocation of your parental rights in future. That’s why you should make sure your criminal defense lawyer and child custody attorney are on the same page. You should never hide any criminal history from your lawyer.
As you can see, your criminal history may have a significant impact on your child custody battle. However, there are no generalizations when considering prior criminal behavior of a parent filing for child custody as each case has its own merits and demerits. Overall, it is necessary to hire a competent child custody attorney as soon as possible to increase your chances of winning your children’s custody.
Talk to an Experienced Child Custody Lawyer in Brainerd, MN Today!
As a parent, you have the right to be involved in your children’s lives even after the divorce. If you are filing for or contesting child custody in Brainerd, MN, Carlson & Jones, P.A. can help you. Our experienced lawyers will fight for and protect your parental rights. Call us on (855) 976-2444 or contact us online to schedule an appointment.