What Happens to your Children When you are Booked into a County Jail?


Undergoing an arrest can turn one’s life upside down. If a defendant is offered bail to allow his or her release leading up to the trial, it is in the individual’s and their family’s best interest to obtain bail as soon as possible. The most expedient option for release is to seek the help of a bail bondsman.

During the trial, if the defendant is convicted and is ordered to serve jail time, a major concern is who will care for the defendant’s children during that time, especially if the defendant is a single parent.

BAN Button

Child Custody

First and foremost, it should be understood that the utmost importance for child custody rests with the children. Local child protective services counselors and judges want to settle custody decisions or disputes by addressing what is best for the children.

This can include:

  • The parent’s ability to care for the children, financially and physically.
  • The age and gender of the children.
  • The parent’s work, recreation, and social habits including how much he or she is away from the home and whether they smoke, drink alcohol, or participate in drug use.
  • The preferences of the children including their bond with each of their parents and other family members.
  • Maintaining the familiarity and structure for the children including staying in the same schools, playing in the same parks, and so forth.

When a Parent is Incarcerated

If a child’s parents are still married or living together, and one is sentenced to jail, it will change the lifestyle of the family and could change the status of custody. The courts would prefer to see children stay with a parent when at all possible. But, with one parent in jail, it can change a lot of day-to-day life situations and activities including finances, and whether an adult is at home for the children.

If the parents are living separate lives yet share joint custody of their children, it could be that the children could live with the other parent throughout the period of time of the second parent’s incarceration.

Another option may be for another family member to step up and help, be it a grandparent, aunt, or uncle, especially when it comes to supervision and child care. Again, judges and child protective services strive to keep families together whenever possible.

Will the Family Structure Change?

Depending upon the crime, a parent could be in jail for only a short period of time or a long haul. The difference can have a major effect on the entire family. If a parent is convicted of a lesser crime and is to only spend a short time in jail, say under three months, it could be that in the long run, the family structure will not have to change. But when repeated offenses have occurred, or crimes that could endanger the welfare of the children, the parent could be jailed for some time, and the custodial rights of that parent will likely come into question.

If you or a loved one has been arrested, to better understand the circumstances surrounding the children in your family¸ it is best to consult with an attorney specializing in family law, and as soon as possible.

Finding legal representation or a bail bondsman to help you during this trying time, doesn’t have to be difficult. You can feel comfortable with any of the professionals found through the Bail Agents Network. Those listed here specialize in dealing with law enforcement issues, but they can also refer you to a family law specialist should childcare become an issue. Contact any business listed here on the online Bail Agent Network directory to find the right representation you need for your case. We are happy to provide local referrals for you or a loved one in your time of need.