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Do Parents Lose Custody If They Go To Jail?


Being convicted of a criminal offense in New York has serious consequences. You may have to serve jail time, pay high fines, and will have a permanent criminal record. When a parent is convicted of a crime, it can have a negative impact on the entire family. You may wonder if the conviction will impact your child custody rights, and if your time with your child will be further limited. If you are in this delicate situation, it is important you know how to protect your parental rights. Below, our Suffolk County child custody lawyer explains how to do it.

Will You Lose Your Parental Rights After a Conviction? 

Fortunately, you cannot lose your parental rights just because you were convicted of a crime. Even being incarcerated after a conviction will not result in the automatic termination of your parental rights. In order for parental rights to be terminated, the following conditions must apply:

  • The child has been in foster care placement for 15 of the previous 22 months and the foster agency has filed a petition under federal law to terminate parental rights based on neglect,
  • The parent has not visited or tried to communicate with their child for six months or more, which provides grounds for terminating parental rights,
  • The non-incarcerated parent has filed for sole custody and has been successful showing the incarceration hinders their ability to co-parent, or
  • The conviction was for a serious crime such as manslaughter or murder and the state of New York has petitioned for the termination of parental rights.

Before a foster care agency can terminate one’s parental rights, they must inform the parent of foster care options, as well as their legal rights and responsibilities.

How to Protect Your Parental Rights 

It is true that being convicted or incarcerated for a crime can make child custody issues much more complex. Still, there are ways you can protect your parental rights. These are as follows:

  • Communicate with your co-parent and remain amicable: The more amicable you can remain with your former spouse, and the more you communicate with them, the less likely they are to petition the court for sole custody.
  • Entrust a guardian to look after your child: If your child can live with a co-parent, a relative, or another trusted adult, this is not considered foster care and so, cannot be used against you in child custody hearings.
  • Communicate with your child regularly: To show that you care about your child’s well-being and that you want to maintain a relationship with them, it is crucial that you communicate with them on a regular basis and make every effort to be as involved in their life as possible.

Our Child Custody Lawyer in Suffolk County Can Protect Your Rights

 If you have been convicted or charged with a crime, you may be worried about how it will impact your child custody situation. At the Law Office of Joshua Adam Kittenplan, P.C., our Suffolk County child custody lawyer can help ensure your rights are protected so you can continue having a relationship with your child. Call or text us now at 631-499-0606 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation and to learn more about how we can help.



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