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How can an arrest record affect child custody?

An arrest and a subsequent proceeding can have a big impact on relationships such as marriage and parent-child interaction.

In all cases, the custody of the child takes the welfare of a child as the first and foremost important factor. Therefore, just having an arrest record will not cause an individual to lose the custody of a child.

In the state of Maryland, a person’s arrest records are made public in accordance with the Maryland Public Information Act. By this act, it is possible to delve into a person’s MA Arrest Records, if available.

Can old convictions be brought up in newer cases?

Typically, an arrest that leads to no convictions is not allowed to be brought up as an evidence in new cases involving the same person. Proof from the old cases that impeach the individual fighting for child custody is also not allowed, unless, it serves to prove that the individual is incapable of providing the care and support that the child needs.

Impact of minor offense on child custody

Typically, a parent’s arrest record for a minor offense like a traffic violation will not have any impact on the child custody, provided, there are no other issues such as mental capacity or the ability to provide good care to the child.

Impact of major offense on child custody

If a parent is involved in a felony such as a manslaughter or a serious misdemeanor, where the arrest results in a conviction, there could be a direct impact on child custody, especially if the sentence is a long-term imprisonment.

The parent with the arrest record could also be denied child custody if the decision-making body (judge or jury) finds that there could be a potential threat to the child because of the nature of the conviction.

If the parent is convicted of crimes such as child abuse, a sexual felony involving a minor, endangering a child etc. then the child custody will be denied to such individuals, and there are restrictions placed on visitation rights.

Other factors that influence child custody for parents with arrest records

As a rule, just having an arrest record is not sufficient grounds for losing parental rights and child custody, unless there is a conviction for the crimes listed above. Additionally, having an arrest record does not restrict an individual’s right to adopt.

However, it is important to disclose any criminal records, as not doing so can have other negative impacts.

Apart from the criminal history of the person, the criminal records contain the following details about an individual:

The name of the culprit and the name of the victim.
The place where the crime was committed and the jurisdiction of both the culprit and the victim. For example, if the crime was committed in the state of Maryland, the criminal record will have information about it and if the parties involved are from different states, the details will be added to the record as well.
Date of Birth of the culprit and the victim
Official address of both the parties.
Duly attested photographs of the victim and the guilty
Compulsory fingerprints of both the parties as these fingerprints are used for forensic purposes.
The criminal records of each state will vary and even the information included in the record will change from one state to another. The records of some states will include more than one felony or misdemeanor in a single record.

To make sure that parental rights are not lost, it is important to make sure that there is contact with the child all the time. Not having a contact for six months at a stretch can result in permanently losing parental rights.

Charles Hammes is the author of this article. For further detail about MA Arrest Records. Please visit the website: maryland.staterecords.org

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