In an eastern Indiana community, outside of Fort Wayne, law enforcement officials have made a series of arrests for possession, manufacturing, sale and distribution of methamphetamine.
Our Hammond divorce lawyers might not take particular note of that, but for the fact that one of the individuals arrested during a traffic stop had her two-year-old child in the vehicle. That child was subsequently taken into the custody of Indiana Child Protective Services, and then ultimately released to another family member.
Parents who have either been recently arrested or convicted of drug-related or other criminal charges may face a host of challenges when working to regain custody of their child. Custody isn’t always taken after an arrest, but it can be, particularly if it’s determined the child was at some risk or there is nowhere else for him or her to go while the parent is in custody. Child-endangering charges can also cause havoc with child-custody agreements.
Individuals grappling with this situation need a family law attorney who understands what is necessary to protect your parental rights.
As a general rule, courts are loathe to separate parents and children. It is generally not seen in the best interest of the child, even when the conditions of the home or the background of the parent is less than idea.
That said, the court, in acting in the best interests of the child, is going to look at the following:
- The parents’ wishes;
- The age and sex of the child;
- The child’s relationship with his or her parents, siblings and extended family members;
- The child’s adjustment to home, school and community;
- Whether there is a history of domestic violence;
- The parents’ mental, physical and emotional health;
- The parents’ ability to financially care for their child.
No one aspect will necessarily decide a case definitively, but a drug arrest could certainly hurt your case. At the very least, it may take longer to prove to the court that you are, in fact, a fit parent, capable of providing a stable and loving environment for your child to thrive.
You may find that certain requirements you must meet in order to regain custody of your child may also be mandated by the criminal court judge. However, it often shows initiative and reflects favorably if you do it on your own without prompting. For example, if you enroll yourself in a drug treatment program that requires regular drug testing – before you are court-ordered to do so – it may show you are serious about getting clean and getting your kids back.
Likewise, the family court may at some point require you to get and keep a job in order to get your child back. But if you can do this before the court has to tell you to do it, it may improve your chances.
If you have another relative, such as a parent or grandparent, who is fighting you for custody of your child, it may make your battle more challenging. But again, the state courts recognize that the bond between a parent and child is important, and if it’s possible to maintain it while keeping the child safe, the court will strive to do this.
Still, you need an attorney on your side who will advocate for your best interests and those of your children, who need you.
Indiana Family Law Attorney Burton A. Padove handles divorce and child custody matters throughout northern Indiana, including Gary, Hammond and Calumet City. Call Toll Free 877-446-5294.
RELEASE: Not first motel meth arrest last month for pair in Warsaw, Nov. 1, 2012, Staff Report, WSBT-TV
Meth Arrests Continue In Warsaw, Oct. 25, 2012, Staff Report, Stacey Page Online
More Blog Entries:
Protect Yourself From Abusive Spouse During Divorce, Sept. 15, 2012, Indiana Divorce Lawyer Blog