Can a Criminal Record Affect My Visitation Rights?
Your criminal record may have a bearing on a court’s decision in your visitation rights. To explain further, let’s look at Texas law and the concept of “conservatorship.”
The parent who is responsible for looking after a child is called a “conservator” in Texas.
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It would mean the same as a “custodial parent” in other states. They would have primary rights and responsibilities where the child is concerned.
Two types of conservatorships
There are two classifications of conservatorships in a custody case in Texas. You will either be awarded a Joint Managing Conservatorship or Sole Managing Conservatorship. These determine the parental rights and responsibilities of each parent. A court will make a ruling and set a visitation schedule that is in the best interest of the child.
JMC – Joint Managing Conservatorship
The state of Texas finds that usually, it is best for the child or children involved to have both parents share in a Joint Managing Conservatorship. They see a strong benefit for the child to have relationships with both parents. This doesn’t necessarily mean that both parents will have the same rights or responsibilities. These will be laid out by the judge in court.
In a JMC, the Standard Possession Schedule will usually take effect, unless there are circumstances that make it necessary to deviate from that plan. This lays out the visitation schedule for the year. It provides each parent certain weekends and determines the schedule for alternating holidays and extra time in the summer.
SMC – Sole Managing Conservatorship
In this type of conservatorship, only one parent gets to make certain decisions for the child, such as:
- Primary residence of the child – Where will the child live?
- The child’s education – How and where will the child be educated?
- Consent for medical treatment – Provides parental consent for medical treatment
- Emergency contact – Designated as the child’s emergency contact
- School activities (field trips, clubs, etc.)
- Extracurricular activities (sports, dance, etc.)
Usually, the SMC arrangement means that the Sole Managing Conservator receives child support. So, in this case, it means less visitation and more money paid in child support.
Reasons for awarding a SMC decision
There can be several reasons why a judge would opt for an SMC arrangement. This type of arrangement is often in the best interest of the child if the other parent had a history of neglect or violence. Another reason would be that the parent had a criminal record or history of substance abuse.
Therefore, a criminal record may affect your ability to participate in a JMC in Texas. Ultimately, the outcome of your case depends on the judge’s decision. Give yourself every advantage in this case. Hire a reputable family law attorney that practices in your area and ask them for help. You may want to shy away from the legal system if you have had trouble in the past. However, your ability to visit your child will have a major impact on your life, and it’s worth fighting for in court. Contact our family law attorneys today.