Would it help my family law case to clean up my record?
It depends—but it can never hurt your case. We recommend cleaning up your criminal record in case there is any misinformation or mistakes that could unfavorable affect your case in family court. Also, there could be updates that would look more favorable in family court such as expungement and dismissals. For more information, see the UNDERSTANDING AND CLEANING UP YOUR CRIMINAL RECORD CHAPTER on PG. 931.
Helpful Hint Clean Up Your Criminal Record & Get Convictions Expunged
If possible, it is recommended that you get your conviction expunged (“dismissed”) under California Penal Code Section 1203.4—or that you clean up your criminal record in other ways—before trying to get custody of a child in dependency court. Expungement does NOT remove the conviction from your criminal record, but it has many benefits. For example, cleaning up your record and getting convictions expunged can only help you in trying to get custody, guardianship, or reunite with your child, because it will show the judge that you are committed to making positive changes in your life and can take on greater caregiving responsibilities. Some judges (but not all) will even treat an expunged conviction the same as a criminal record exemption—meaning they’ll excuse the conviction in deciding that child can live with you as a guardian through dependency court. For more information about expungement and other ways to clean up your criminal record, read the UNDERSTANDING & CLEANING UP YOUR CRIMINAL RECORD CHAPTER, beginning on PG. 931.
If you do this your criminal record will not be considered in guardianship proceedings at all. For more information on expunging your criminal record see Chapter 9 ↑
Telephone call with Eleanor Miller, reentry attorney, Pepperdine Legal Aid Clinic, Jan. 6, 2015. ↑
Compare electronic communication from Eleanor Miller, reentry attorney, Pepperdine Legal Aid Clinic, Jan. 9, 2015 (dismissal as automatic exemption); with In re H.K., 217 Cal. App. 4th 1422 (App. 2 Dist. 2013) (court must still consider expunged conviction). ↑