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How Does Incarceration Impact Child Custody?

arrested man with cuffed hands behind prison bars

Some individuals may assume that child custody is automatically terminated when one parent goes to prison. While there are some circumstances in which this may occur, this is not always the case. In fact, it is very possible for a parent that is in prison to still have a say in their child’s life. There are several different things that play a role in how an incarcerated parent may impact a custody agreement.

Are There Existing Arrangements?

If a parent is incarcerated after a custody arrangement is made, it will be necessary to revisit that arrangement. For example, physical custody will have to be adjusted to compensate for the incarcerated parent’s ability to provide care. The courts will assess what has contributed to the parent ending up behind bars, as there are certain charges that are more severe than others. For example, charges such as these may result in the termination of parental rights:

  • Murder
  • Assault
  • Sexual assault

Can An Incarcerated Parent Still Make Decisions?

While it is apparent that physical custody arrangements will be ultimately impacted by imprisoned parents, they may still share responsibility for other decisions. Just because an individual is behind bars, that does not mean they will automatically lose the ability to have a say in their child’s life. In fact, it is possible even to maintain a routine visitation schedule while a parent serves their time.

Should a Lawyer Be Consulted?

When a parent is incarcerated either prior to establishing custody or after, it is paramount to seek legal guidance. Decisions should always be made in the child’s best interests, but that does not necessarily mean that the imprisoned or incarcerated parent should lose their access to parental responsibility or visitation. The team at Bush & Taylor, P.C. can help find the best arrangement for your unique circumstances.

Reach our office today at (757) 926-0078 to schedule a consultation.

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