How Criminal Charges Can Complicate Your Family Law Case


Being charged with a crime is one of the most stressful situations you can find yourself in. It can easily get worse if your criminal charge—and possible conviction—is used against you in a family law case. Attorney Marc Lopez had the chance to interview family law Attorney Jaimie Cairns about how criminal charges can complicate a family law dispute.

Here are the highlights from the interview:

  1. Protective Orders
    1. oftentimes necessary, but easy to abuse
    2. Protective Order can lead to your parenting time being revoked without a hearing
    3. can be used to compel someone to pay mortgage or utilities
  2. Domestic violence
    1. charges of domestic violence can lead to a No Contact Order
      1. a No Contact Order is typically much more strict than a Protective Order
      2. also easier to violate
    2. victims are not always forthcoming, which complicates the matter immensely
    3. there’s a legal duty to keep a child from being exposed to domestic violence; where a child is involved, both parents run the risk of losing physical custody
  3. Overlap between cases
    1. if the alleged victim in the criminal case is also a party to the family law case, this could raise credibility issues
    2. the defendant’s attorney may be able to show that personal bias is playing a role in the alleged victim’s testiony
  4. Police reports
    1. not admissible in a family law case
    2. officers are required to come and testify in court
  5. Interpreting Protective Orders
    1. depending on how it’s written, a Protective Order may allow the parties to contact each other about shared children
      1. communication is critical, but not always productive
      2. where parents are at each other’s throats, a Protective Order that permits some contact on certain topics is a potential mess waiting to happen
  6. Violating court orders
    1. if you breach a Protective Order or a No Contact Order, you’ll earn a new criminal charge of invasion of privacy
    2. invasion of privacy starts as an A Misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail
  7. Character
    1. a family law dispute frequently comes down to which party appears to have the better character
    2. any criminal case—past or present—can therefore affect a family law case
  8. Mandatory considerations
    1. in a child custody matter, there are factors the presiding judge is required to consider
    2. domestic violence is one of these factors
    3. the dominant, over-arching consideration is the “best interest of the child”
  9. Victims
    1. all criminal charges cause problems
    2. victimless crimes are still bad news
    3. crimes involving victims are even worse
  10. Recent troubles?
    1. the more recently you’ve been in trouble with the law, the worse it looks
    2. a criminal conviction from 20 years ago might not be considered relevant
    3. a criminal conviction from last week reflects poorly on your character
  11. Drunk driving
    1. comes up frequently in family law cases
    2. the more recently it occurred, the worse it looks
    3. if you have an active DUI / OVWI case, you owe it to your children to seek treatment
    4. in some cases, an in-car breathalyzer might be a compromise for the worried parent
  12. Representation
    1. criminal cases can affect family law cases
    2. family law cases can affect criminal cases
    3. everything is connected, so always get the best attorney for your case

The attorneys at the Marc Lopez Law Firm know that life doesn’t stop when you get arrested. You still have to get to work, you still have to take care of your family, and you still have to pay your bills. If you or a loved one are facing criminal charges call Attorney Marc Lopez. You can reach him at (317) 632-3642, or you can e-mail him by clicking this link.