How a Criminal Record Can Affect Your Right to Custody

Barred from Performing Parental Duties

A child’s best interest is at the center of all child custody and visitation decisions. When courts consider how capable each parent is of protecting their child’s health and wellbeing, criminal records are among the factors that could influence their final custody ruling.

The Impact of a Criminal Conviction

A criminal offense alone will not thwart a parent’s ability to receive custody or visitation rights. The judge will consider the specific details of the conviction, such as:

  • The nature of the crime
  • When the parent was convicted
  • Whether the parent was arrested or on probation
  • Whether the parent had any repeat offenses

Overall, the court will ponder how the details of the offense will impact that parent’s ability to be a proper guardian for the child and protect their best interests. As such, violent crimes will likely impair your ability to receive custody rights more than a one-time public intoxication charge.

Crimes That Make It Especially Difficult to Get Custody

Some crimes could be telling of an inability to be a positive parental figure and could thus hinder your ability to seek a significant spot in your child’s life. Convictions that could complicate your pursuit include:

  • Child abuse: Judges will be inclined to believe that, as there is already a record of the convicted parent harming their child, they are prone to do so again.
  • Violent crimes: A court could be led to believe that a parent has violent impulses if they have been convicted for weapons offenses, assault, battery, domestic violence, or stalking.
  • Drug offenses: Abusing drugs could cause a judge to believe that the convicted parent lacks the moral character necessary to properly raise a child.

Your New Partner

The court could also consider the history of your new partner in their custody decisions. After all, if they are living with you, they will be in close contact with your child and thus have an effect on their overall wellbeing. If your partner was convicted of a series of serious crimes, your custody rights will likely be limited.

A mistake made many years ago does not render you incapable of changing for the better now. If you fear that your record is going to disqualify you from seeing your child, contact Empire Law. We will fight for the future you and your child deserve.