How Do Criminal Charges Affect Your Child Custody Case?

Child custody is always determined by what is in the best interests of the child. When one parent is a convicted felon, or if he or she has criminal charges brought against him or her, it begs the question: Should that parent be granted visitation rights? Though the character of each parent is a huge deciding factor in child custody cases, criminal charges do not automatically disqualify a parent from taking on a parental role. At the Clark Law Group, our child custody attorneys will fight to preserve your child’s best interests. Whether this means helping you obtain more custody rights despite your felon status, or making sure that the amount of visitation your child’s other parent gets is limited, we will fight on your behalf to do what is best for everyone involved.

How Custody is Determined When a Parent is a Convicted Felon

When faced with a child custody case in which one or both parents are convicted felons, a Texas judge will review a variety of factors, such as:

  • Who the victim of the offense was;
  • The type of offense committed;
  • The age at which the conviction occurred;
  • How long ago the offense was committed;
  • The nature of the sentence; and
  • Whether or not the convicted parent has multiple convictions.

If a parent has a criminal history and becomes entangled in a child custody dispute, the judge will not grant custody to that parent lightly. The judge will want to know everything from who the victim of the prior offense was (for instance, was it a peer or their own child?) to what the nature of the offense was (was it a brawl in a bar parking lot, or was it child abuse?). The judge’s main concern is that the child is not at risk of being hurt by either parent.

Additionally, the judge will want to know how many criminal convictions the felonious parent has. If the incident was an isolated one that occurred before the child was born, the judge might not give it much weight. However, if the parent has been in and out of prison for more or less the same crime, the judge might not feel comfortable granting the parent anything but supervised visitations. Even if the parent has never laid a hand on the child, a repeat offender is likely to drift in and out of jail and poses a threat of an unstable home environment.

The Nature of a Prior Conviction Will Affect the Outcome of a Custody Case

A judge will give more weight to convictions of child abuse, sexual assault, domestic violence, and drug and alcohol abuse, as these types of offenses are likely to negatively impact a child. Offenses of this nature demonstrate anger management and violence issues that are not likely to go away without professional intervention, despite a parent’s best intentions. When a parent has these charges on his or her record, a Dallas, TX court will likely grant limited or supervised custody.

Drug and alcohol issues are not likely to disappear either. If a parent has a history of drug or alcohol addiction, the judge may order ongoing hair follicle tests, which can reveal drug use for several previous months. A positive drug test will likely result in limited or supervised custody, as well, as drug and alcohol use could put a minor child in danger.

Consult a Dallas, TX Child Custody Attorney

If you are involved in a child custody case in which one parent is a convicted felon, contact the Clark Law Group. Our Dallas child custody attorneys will defend your parental rights and ensure that the final custody agreement only furthers your child’s best interests. To consult with one of our Dallas family lawyers regarding your unique situation, call (469) 906-2266 or go online to schedule a private consultation today.