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Does My Husband’s Criminal Record Affect Me?

The fallout from a criminal conviction can have far-reaching effects on family members. If your spouse is facing charges or has already been convicted, you’re obviously going to wonder, “How does my husband criminal record affect me?”

The conviction of a spouse is a frightening and unsettling event to go through. It’s important to understand the potential difficulties you could face because of your husband’s conviction, so you can effectively plan for the future.

Your husband’s criminal record can have an indirect but significant impact on your life.

How Does My Husband Criminal Record Affect Me?

How Does My Husband Criminal Record Affect Me?

The effects of your husband’s criminal record will vary depending on the type of conviction on his record.

You could face housing problems and financial difficulties, and with some types of crime, the possibility of asset forfeiture.

A conviction that leads to incarceration will cut your household income right away. But even when a felony or misdemeanor is punished with probation, your spouse can still face unemployment and diminished job opportunities for years to come.

If you rent your home, future landlords will also be less likely to rent to you as a couple, which makes finding accommodation in desirable family-friendly neighborhoods much harder.

Your Husband’s Criminal Record Could Limit Your Future Housing Opportunities

If you rent your home, your husband’s conviction could be a problem if you need to move to a new rental property in the future. Your current landlord could even decide to ask you to leave when your lease expires if they become aware of the conviction.

Criminal background checks are a common part of the rental application process, and property managers and landlords may be unwilling to rent to you and your husband once they see the conviction flagged on the report.

Some landlords won’t rent to tenants if a felony conviction is discovered on the background check, others won’t even consider a tenant with a less serious misdemeanor.

Landlords are even more unwilling to rent to a registered sex offender.

It’s standard practice for landlords to require all adults who will live at a property to be named on the lease, and undergo a background check.

You wouldn’t be able to take a lease in your sole name, then (secretly) allow your husband to move in, without violating the terms of your lease and risking eviction.

Your Family Income Could Fall

Your Family Income Could Fall

Employment is another area that convicted criminals often struggle with. While some employers have introduced second-chance hiring policies, finding a good job with a criminal record isn’t easy because of the background checks employers run.

Felons in particular may have to settle for an entry-level position (at least for a while) and lower wages, which could mean a big drop in your family income. This could impact your ability to pay your rent or mortgage and service other debts, leading to problems with creditors.

If you fall behind on your loan, credit card, or mortgage payments, late payments or defaults will appear on your credit report.

Background checks for property rentals include a credit history report, and some employers will check credit history too, so damaged credit is another way that your husband’s criminal record could affect you.

Your Family May Be Denied SNAP Benefits

Some states deny SNAP assistance (food stamps) for a certain period of time if a family member is convicted of a felony drug offense. Eligibility varies from state to state.

Will My Husbands Criminal Record Show On My Background Check?

Will My Husbands Criminal Record Show On My Background Check?

Under normal circumstances, a background check only reveals information about the person authorizing the background check, so your husband’s criminal record won’t be revealed.

When you consent to a regular employment or rental background check, you can only authorize a search of your own records, and the background check company is limited to searching your personal data.

The background check company can’t associate your husband with you from joint accounts on your credit report, run a criminal background check on him, and then report your husband’s criminal record.

So don’t worry, if you apply for a new job, the only information that comes back to your new employer will be your own.

The exception to this is when your background check is for some specific type of security clearance. When an enhanced background check is required, then information about people related to you could be reported, and friends and neighbors could be interviewed who may reveal your husband’s criminal record.

An enhanced or investigative background report would typically take place if, for example, you applied to become a law enforcement officer, join the military, or for some roles with Child Protective Services.

What About Joint Assets? How Does My Husband’s Criminal Record Affect Me?

How Does My Husband’s Criminal Record Affect Me?

If the police believe that assets you hold in joint ownership with your husband were obtained as the result of criminal activity, then asset forfeiture laws allow the police to seize your assets and force a sale.

As an innocent party, you are entitled to your share of the proceeds, but what you’re entitled to and what you get aren’t always the same thing.

In most states, the police do not have to prove that the assets were linked to criminal activity, and asset forfeiture is commonly regarded by critics as legalized theft. Assets may be seized without notice under a temporary restraining order (TRO).

What types of crimes could lead to asset forfeiture? Crimes include:

  • Drug manufacture and drug dealing
  • Money laundering
  • Bribery and extortion
  • Fraud
  • Tax evasion
  • Identity theft
  • Racketeering
  • Insider trading
  • Human trafficking (includes forced labor and prostitution)

Assets the police can seize include joint bank accounts, real estate, vehicles, jewelry, art, antiques, etc.

If you’re worried about the possibility of asset forfeiture, contact an attorney right away to protect your financial interests. Attorneys will often advise that a speedy divorce is the best course of action to separate your financial interests and protect your family. Your attorney should only represent you, it’s unwise to use your husband’s attorney.

Another possible consequence of your husband’s criminal record is joint liability for financial penalties.

Joint Liability For Fines And Restitution

Property and other assets that you own jointly with your husband may be at risk if your husband’s crime results in court-ordered financial penalties or obligations that can only be settled by selling your jointly allowed assets. Again, you’re entitled to your share of the proceeds if assets are sold.

Your Right To Keep A Gun In Your Home Can Be Affected by Your Husband’s Criminal Record

Your Right To Keep A Gun In Your Home Can Be Affected by Your Husband’s Criminal Record

If your husband is convicted of any felony or a domestic violence misdemeanor, he loses his Second Amendment right to own, possess, or use a firearm, unless he petitions for the restoration of his rights.

Even though you still retain your right to own a firearm, if a gun is kept in your home, be aware your husband runs the risk of being charged with the offense of constructive possession.

Your husband would be at risk of constructive possession charges if has access to a firearm, even if the gun is kept locked away in a gun safe and you’re the only key holder. Because it’s possible for your husband to take the key, it’s possible for him to access the gun.

Constructive possession of a firearm is a serious offense that carries large fines and up to 10 years in prison.

You can still own a gun, but you can’t keep it at home if your husband will live with you or visit you.

Next Steps

If you’re worried about any of the potential repercussions mentioned in this article, contact an attorney for advice or seek help from a legal aid organization.

The White Collar Wives Project provides information and a support group for spouses dealing with their husbands’ financial or fraud-related convictions.

The Prison Families Alliance can also offer support and resources, no matter the type of conviction.

Read Also: Can A Felon Live With Someone On Section 8?