Who Gets Child Custody When One Parent Is In Jail?

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Getting sentenced to jail can immediately impact many legal rights, though parental rights are not automatically impacted. While a parent is incarcerated, they cannot have physical custody of their child, though this does not mean their custody rights are terminated forever. It can be complicated to address child custody when one parent is in jail, and you always want the help of a Greenville family law lawyer who understands the way child custody works.

Physical and Legal Custody Determinations

If one parent is in jail when the initial custody order is made, the other parent will get sole physical custody of the child, so long as they are deemed fit to parent. This means the child will live with the free parent 100 percent of the time, though the court might allow for visitation or other contact with the incarcerated parent if it is deemed in the best interest of the child. If there is no other parent in the picture, another family member, such as a grandparent, might petition for custody in lieu of the child going into foster care.

The court can also award a parent sole legal custody when the other is incarcerated. This means that the free parent would have full decision-making authority for the child and does not have to consult with the incarcerated parent before making important decisions.

In some cases, when the parent is released, they can petition the court to modify the custody order to allow them physical and legal custody rights. This is decided on a case-by-case basis. However, depending on the circumstances, the incarcerated parent’s rights might be completely terminated. This might be the case if the offense involved child abuse, sexual abuse of a minor, or other conduct that puts a child at risk.

Child Custody FAQs

When Can You Get Sole Custody in a Divorce?

While sole custody is rare, it might be awarded if the other parent is unfit, incarcerated, or otherwise absent from the child’s life.

Can You Modify Your Child Custody Order?

Custody orders can be modified if parents agree to the changes, or if a court finds that modification is in the best interests of the child and is warranted due to a substantial change in circumstances.

Do You Need a Lawyer for a Custody Case?

Your parental rights are always important, so you want the right legal help to protect your relationship with your child in any type of custody case.

Consult with a Greenville Child Custody Attorney Today

If you have questions about custody, you want the Elliott Frazier Law Firm, LLC on your side. Contact us through our website or call 864-635-6323 to discuss your situation.

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