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What happens when a parent with child custody is arrested?

When a single or divorced parent in California gets arrested, there is likely a host of concerns. Apart from matters like rent and job obligations, concern for the care of any children involved would probably be foremost in the parent's mind. If the arrested parent has child custody, Social Services would probably start by attempting to contact the non-custodial parent.

If the non-custodial parent has not been a part of the child's life, other family members may be considered. If the arrested parent is convicted and likely to be imprisoned for years, Social Services may place the child with approved family members, allowing the child and non-custodial parent to build a relationship. In cases where grandparents have already been taking care of the child -- for instance, while the custodial parent was at work -- the child will probably be left in the environment that he or she is familiar with if the non-custodial parent is not deemed an appropriate caretaker.

However, the circumstances of each such case are different, and the best interest of the child will remain most important when decisions are made. If, for instance, the parent and child lived with the grandparents and the arrest involved matters of serious abuse or neglect, the child will likely not be left in the care of the grandparents once the custodial parent is arrested. In this type of situation, Social Services usually determines that this environment as a whole is not safe for a child who has suffered abuse or neglect.

California residents who are facing charges after an arrest may want to gain information regarding child custody and the care of a child. Help is available to explain their options, along with suggestions of the best way to protect the interest of both the child and the parent. By being proactive, a parent may manage to leave a child in suitable care without jeopardizing his or her chances of getting the child back after incarceration and/or rehabilitation.

Source: Beaver Dam Daily Citizen, "Custody question", Trista Pruett, May 12, 2014

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Victoria S. Linder Law Office
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Sacramento, CA 95819

Phone: 916-905-4805
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