Will Josh Duggar Lose Custody or Visitation Rights to His Kids? A Family Lawyer Weighs in
Josh Duggar’s guilty verdict could alter the disgraced reality star’s custody or visitation rights with his seven children, Los Angeles family lawyer Goldie Schon explains to In Touch exclusively.
After being convicted of child pornography charges on Thursday, December 9, Josh’s wife, Anna Duggar (née Keller), “would have the right essentially to go back to court to modify [any visitation rights] to make it less to whatever it is now if, in fact, he has unsupervised time with those kids if they’re in danger.”
Josh, 33, and Anna, 33, share seven kids together: Mackynzie, Michael, Marcus, Meredith, Mason, Maryella and Madyson, the last of whom they welcomed in October 2021.
Anna announced her pregnancy with baby No. 7 in April, shortly before Josh was arrested on the charges, and she didn’t announce their daughter’s arrival until November 16, shortly before his pretrial hearing took place. The former 19 Kids and Counting stars have been married for 13 years.
Schon says Josh may attempt to remain in their lives despite his charges, theorizing, “The flip side of that would be that he [could] say, ‘Yes, I was found guilty of pornography [charges], but that does not mean I’m a danger to my children.’ So, his defense would be: ‘Yes, I looked at porn, and yes, I’m guilty, but that doesn’t mean that I’m going to hurt my children, and therefore, the court should not lessen my time or take the children away from me or cause me to have supervised time with my children.'”
Josh is now in custody in Fayetteville, Arkansas, and faces up to 40 years in prison and fines up to $500,000 in total after being found guilty of possessing and receiving child sexual abuse material (CSAM). He is scheduled to be sentenced at a later date.
“[Anna] definitely has a lot of ammunition at this point since he was found guilty in order to minimize his time or cause the time to be supervised with the children to ensure that the safety of the children is maintained,” notes Schon. “If he is incarcerated, there’s not going to be any time with the children anyway, so she will get a modification in order to change custody to her primarily and solely.”
Although some of the Duggars have spoken out about his legal woes, Anna opted not to release any statement and was seen alongside her husband throughout his trial. Before going into custody on December 9, Josh was seen telling Anna he “loved” her one final time as he awaited his next sentencing hearing.
“[Anna] has the right to basically go in and ask for [for custody changes], but if he’s incarcerated, he’s not going to see those kids,” the family lawyer tells In Touch. “If he’s out, it’s truly up to [her] and him and a probation officer.”
An attorney for Josh did not immediately respond to In Touch’s request for comment.
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