Divorce and Family Law

Going through a child custody battle is never easy. If you have a criminal record, it can make the process even more stressful. It’s true that a judge will consider a parent’s criminal record when determining custody. A judge wants to make sure that a parent is fit to take care of the child, and may frown on certain convictions. However, that doesn’t mean you should lose all hope. The judge will look at many factors and won’t necessarily count you out for custody.

What Factors Will the Judge Look At?

Just because you have a criminal record, doesn’t meant the judge will automatically deny you custody. He or she will consider several different factors, including:

  • Type of Crime: The type of crime you are convicted of will weigh heavily on the judge’s decision. If you, for example, were convicted of child abuse or another violent crime in the past, the judge will most likely deny you custody. He or she may feel that you are a danger to the child. On the other hand, if you have a petty theft or other non-violent crime in your record, the judge might not make it a big deal.
  • When You Were Convicted: The judge will take into account how long ago you were convicted. If you were convicted in just the last year or so, it may negatively affect your custody case. However, if you were convicted five or more years ago, it might carry less weight in your custody case. The judge may believe that you have learned your lesson since then.
  • Existence of Repeat Offenses: Whether or not you’ve been charged with one crime or multiple offenses will also influence the judge’s decision. If you were convicted of a crime several years ago and have never been in trouble with the law since, it could reflect positively on your child custody case. However, if you have a long criminal record, the judge may think that you haven’t learned your lesson and may be a bad influence on your child.
  • Nature of Sentencing: The type of sentence you get for a crime will also influence a judge’s decision. For example, if you have to go to prison for a year or more, the judge may believe that you can’t be there for your child and deny custody.

Hiring a Child Custody Lawyer

If you have a criminal record, it’s understandable that you’re nervous about your child custody case. However, don’t let it defeat you. It’s in your best interest to speak to an experienced child custody lawyer about your case as soon as possible. He or she can review the details of your case and advise you the best way to proceed.

A child custody lawyer will be there for you every step of the way during your child custody battle and knows how to help with a criminal record. Call a reputable child custody lawyer today to schedule a consultation.