Can having a criminal record impact a court’s child custody decision?


When a couple pursues a divorce with children, they will have to decide on a custody agreement. If a couple cannot mutually agree on a custody agreement, the decision will be left up to the judge. A judge will consider several pertinent factors to determine a custody agreement that values the best interests of a child. One of the many factors the court takes into account is if either party has a criminal record. Many wonder whether a felony conviction can impact a custody determination. Please continue reading to learn whether a criminal record can impact a custody determination. In addition, please don’t hesitate to contact an experienced Pensacola Child Custody Lawyer who can help you navigate the complexities of a child custody case. 

Can you be awarded custody if you have a criminal record?

When a judge makes a custody determination, they first have to evaluate various factors such as the relationship the child has with each parent, the mental and physical health of each parent, the willingness of each parent to work with each other, both parties’ living accommodations, each parent’s ability to provide for the child, whether either party has a criminal record, etc. When a parent has a criminal record, a judge will take that into account when deciding on child custody. However, that does not necessarily mean that a parent will be denied custody if they have a criminal record.

Ultimately, the weight a criminal record has on a custody determination depends on the nature of the crime that an individual was charged with.  In addition, it depends on how long ago the criminal offense was committed. For instance, if one parent committed a violent crime or a sexual crime it can have a significant impact on a custody determination. However, if one parent was charged with theft 15 years ago and they do not have any subsequent offenses, it will not weigh heavily on a custody determination. Nevertheless, some criminal offenses will cause a parent to be denied custody as the child’s physical, emotional, and mental well-being is at risk. If a parent has a felony conviction for sexual assault or child abuse, it will cause the parent to be denied custody. Nonetheless, having a criminal record can affect whether a parent is granted any form of custody or parenting time.

In the unfortunate event that you have a felony conviction that results in a criminal record, it is imperative to seek qualified legal counsel when it comes to a child custody case. Our firm can assist you in proving that it is in your childs best interest, regardless of your criminal record, to benefit from having a relationship with you. Allow our firm to fight on your behalf today!