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Does an Incarcerated Parent Have Custody Rights?

As a divorced parent in Pennsylvania who is incarcerated while child custody is being determined, you may be wondering just what child custody rights apply to those who are in jail. What rights are available to you? What options do you have? During this difficult time, clear answers can help ease some of your concerns.

As LiveStrong states, there are actually numerous child custody rights for incarcerated parents. For example, you can have joint custody of the child with your ex-spouse. Both of you will have an equal share in how your child is raised. You will have a voice in the important matters, like deciding on the religion they will be raised with, or their health or educational options. You will also likely have some form of visitation rights available. However, you should keep in mind that this might not be possible if the court determines that visiting a prison will be detrimental to your child.

There are still some limitations to the rights that you may have, as well. For example, maintaining sole custody while in jail is likely not going to happen, as courts always consider the child’s best interest first. Additionally, there’s no way for you to maintain physical custody. You can’t provide a home for your child while incarcerated. If your ex-spouse is capable and available, you aren’t allowed to delegate custody to a third party on your behalf either.

The circumstances behind your incarceration will have some effect on how many rights you’re able to exercise. However, as you can see here, you might not be quite as limited as you may have initially thought.

For more information, contact Louis Wm. Martini, attorney at law.