Fight for Your Custody Rights
Video Transcribed: So you screwed up, but now you’ve turned from it and you’re worried that it’s going to cost you your kid. My name is Brian L. Jackson. I’m a father’s rights attorney in Tulsa, Oklahoma with dads.law, where fathers are not disposable. And I’d like to talk to you today about how having a past criminal record can affect your custody case. And also a little bit about how that can be mitigated.
So obviously it doesn’t help if you have a record, but the relevancy of that record is going to depend on a couple of things. First of all, are we talking misdemeanors, felonies, a mix thereof? Secondly, do we have anything that’s violent on your record? Particularly things like domestic violence or anything involving a child.
Thirdly, drug offenses. The type of crimes that tend to affect you the worst is going to be felonies, obviously, particularly anything involving a violent felony or any of the major felonies. Yeah. That doesn’t help.
Some of the ones that are mandatory considerations, obviously, if you have any kind of a sex offense that makes you subject to registration, any kind of domestic violence, history, any kind of drug history, those things the courts have to consider.
Of course, we usually look pretty hard at stuff like DUIs, but the other thing to be aware of is it matters to a degree how far back in time we’re talking. With misdemeanors, if you go back far enough, then they’re no longer relevant and it becomes admissible.
With felonies, the court can consider it, but the more time that’s gone by since the felony, the less weight it tends to carry. Although, again, there are exceptions. I mean, obviously, if you have like a lewd mall charge in your background, that’s always going to be looked at hard.
Domestic violence history, especially a real bad one, that’s always going to be looked at hard. But the important thing to understand about dealing with criminal charges in your past is making sure you can show the court that they really are in your past.
I mean, if some time’s going by, if you’ve done your time, you’ve completed your probation. You did your time inside if there was that. You’re not acting that same way and you can show the court where there’s a difference, whether it’s well, okay, I got clean or it’s, I don’t hang out with those people anymore.
I’ve cut ties with those associations. I’m not doing that anymore, is really what you want to show a court. I can tell you, there is hope. I have represented clients with a criminal history who I’ve been able to get them really good custodial arrangements. It’s not automatically going to screw you or mean you’re on a supervised visitation forever. It doesn’t help.
But if you make a good faith effort to correct whatever it is that got you into the criminal justice system, and you can demonstrate to a judge that, look, I’m not that person anymore. I’ve turned from it. Judges will look at it that way. And the thing to understand with custody litigation is you are talking about suits and equity.
So the judge has a lot of discretion and they can look at it and say, yeah, all right. You screwed up in the past. That was stupid. I don’t know what the hell you were thinking, but you seem to have recognized your mistake and you’ve turned from it. Judges can and do that.
I think the important thing to understand is, is it’s what are you doing now? That’s the big factor. What are you doing now? And how remote in time is that criminal history? Now, I’m talking about this in the context of generic family litigation, because if you’re talking about things like a deprived case where you’re trying to get placement, or like guardianship or adoption, criminal history is a whole different ball game, and that’s going to be a topic for a future discussion.
Today’s discussion really is just about family court, where you’re fighting with baby mama. And yes, you can defend that. And the further back in time, the less it’s going to hurt. And the more you have an opportunity to show the court that you are not doing those things anymore.
So guys, if you have a criminal history and you’re in the middle of a custody battle in Tulsa, or you need help with any other issues you have related to your rights as a father, I encourage you to go to dad.law, where fathers are not disposable, and we would love to help you out.