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Will I Get Full Custody if My Ex Has a Criminal Record?

Child custody cases are complex and emotionally charged, especially when one parent has a criminal record. The burning question for many is, “Will I get full custody if my ex has a criminal record?” The answer is not straightforward, as it depends on multiple factors. A parent’s criminal history can influence custody decisions, but it doesn’t automatically disqualify them from visitation or custody rights.

At Skillern Firm, we understand the gravity of these decisions and the profound impact they have on your life and your child’s life. Our team is dedicated to providing comprehensive legal assistance, considering every aspect of your case, and guiding you through the child custody process. If you need help or have questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at 936-213-8479.

Understanding Child Custody Decisions

The central focus of child custody determinations is the child’s best interests. This legal standard encompasses various factors that contribute to a child’s well-being, safety, health, and emotional development. Key considerations include:

  • Emotional ties with parents
  • Parental ability to provide for the child’s needs
  • Child’s preference (if age-appropriate)
  • Each parent’s mental and physical health
  • History of domestic violence or child abuse

Types of Custody Arrangements

Understanding the types of custody can provide clarity on how the custody process works:

  • Physical Custody: This refers to the parent with whom the child primarily lives.
  • Legal Custody: This pertains to the right and responsibility to make decisions about the child’s upbringing, education, healthcare, and religious instruction.

Custody arrangements can vary, with one parent having sole physical and legal custody or both parents sharing these responsibilities in a joint custody arrangement. In most cases, the non-custodial parent has visitation rights unless such visits could harm the child.

The Impact of a Parent’s Criminal History on Child Custody

A parent’s criminal history can significantly affect child custody cases. The court considers the type of criminal conviction and its impact on the child’s safety and well-being. Not all criminal convictions carry the same weight. For example:

  • Minor traffic violations might have less impact than felony convictions.
  • Violent crimes and domestic violence are serious considerations.

If a parent has been convicted of a violent crime, especially against a family member or child, it raises significant concerns about the child’s safety and can affect custody and visitation rights. The court may also examine whether the criminal conviction is part of a pattern of behavior or an isolated incident.

How Criminal Charges Can Affect Custody Rights

The primary concern of the court in custody determinations is the child’s best interests. A history of criminal charges can cast doubt on a parent’s ability to provide a stable, safe environment for the child, potentially limiting their custody rights.

A parent’s criminal history may lead the court to restrict their custody or visitation rights if it raises concerns about the child’s safety. Navigating such a situation can be challenging, but our experienced child custody attorneys at Skillern Firm can help you fight for your rights and your child’s best interests.

Supervised Visitation and the Role of Criminal Convictions

In some cases, the court may order supervised visitation, where the non-custodial parent can only see the child under the supervision of a designated third party. This is typically done to protect the child’s safety while still maintaining a relationship with the non-custodial parent.

Even with a criminal conviction, a parent retains parental rights unless explicitly terminated by the court. It means that a convicted felon may still have access to their child, although it may be limited to supervised visits. However, the court’s decisions are subjective and depend on the specific details of the parent’s criminal history and their commitment to their child’s well-being.

Impact of the Criminal History of New Partners

Child custody considerations extend to parental figures beyond biological parents. When a parent forms a new relationship, the criminal history of their new partner can be relevant. The court will assess whether the new partner’s criminal record might affect the child’s safety or well-being.

Introducing a new partner with a criminal background to your child requires careful handling. Open and honest communication with your child, considering their age and maturity, is essential. Reassuring the court of responsible steps taken to protect the child is equally important. The child’s feelings towards the new partner and their criminal history may also play a role in custody decisions.

Effectively Presenting Your Case in Court

In child custody cases, evidence is critical. You must substantiate your claim of being a suitable parent for your child. This can include evidence of a stable home environment, involvement in your child’s life, and testimonies from character witnesses.

If a parent’s criminal history is a factor in the custody case, relevant police reports and court records become critical pieces of evidence. These documents provide an unbiased view of the parent’s past conduct and any rehabilitative measures they’ve taken.


Navigating child custody with a criminal record can be overwhelming, but it’s not impossible. The court’s primary concern is the child’s best interests, and a parent’s criminal history can influence custody decisions. However, with the right legal support from Skillern Firm, you can present a strong case in court and fight for your parental rights. We understand the complexities of child custody cases and are prepared to advocate fiercely on your behalf.

Remember, each custody case is unique, and there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to “Will I get full custody if my ex has a criminal record?” The best course of action is to seek professional legal advice, gather compelling evidence, and be prepared for every step of the process. Reach out to Skillern Firm today for dedicated and experienced family law representation. Call us at 936-213-8479 to discuss your situation and take the first step towards securing your child’s future.

Will I Get Full Custody if My Ex Has a Criminal Record? FAQ

What if my ex is charged with a crime after the custody arrangement is made?

If your ex-partner faces criminal charges after the custody arrangements have been made, it might not immediately impact the existing arrangement. However, you can petition for a modification of the custody order in light of new circumstances.

How can I prove that my ex’s criminal history is a risk to our child?

If you believe your ex’s criminal history presents a risk to your child, it’s crucial to provide solid evidence. This can include police reports, court records, testimonies from witnesses, or reports from child welfare professionals.

Can my ex lose parental rights due to their criminal conviction?

Parental rights are rarely terminated unless the court determines there’s a serious risk to the child. Factors that could lead to termination of rights include severe crimes such as murder, child abuse, or neglect. However, each case is unique and considered individually by the court.

What happens if the noncustodial parent with a criminal record is denied visitation rights?

If the noncustodial parent is denied visitation rights due to their criminal history, it’s usually to protect the child’s welfare. However, they may still have options for re-establishing contact with their child, such as supervised visitation or attending parenting classes.

Is it possible for a parent with a criminal record to get sole custody?

While it’s difficult, it’s not impossible for a parent with a criminal record to get sole custody. Much depends on the nature of the crime, how much time has passed since the conviction, the parent’s behavior since then, and their current circumstances. The critical factor is always the child’s best interests.

What if the other parent is not disclosing their criminal record during custody proceedings?

Dishonesty during custody proceedings, especially about something as significant as a criminal record, can have serious consequences. If you have evidence of their criminal history, you should present it to the court. An experienced attorney can guide you on how to handle this situation correctly.

How often do courts award custody to a parent with a felony conviction?

There are no statistics to answer this definitively as each case is unique. The type of felony, the circumstances surrounding the conviction, and the parent’s subsequent behavior are all factors that would influence the court’s decision.

How Skillern Firm Can Help

Custody cases involving a parent with a criminal history are often complex, emotionally charged, and highly sensitive. At Skillern Firm, we understand the nuances of these situations. Our lawyers are committed to providing the support and guidance you need through this challenging process.

Understanding how a parent’s criminal background can impact custody and visitation rights is crucial. We can help you make sense of how your or the other parent’s criminal past may affect the custody case. If you’re dealing with an abusive parent situation, it’s even more essential to have experienced legal representation on your side.

Whether your case involves a minor criminal history or serious felony convictions, our dedicated attorneys are ready to advocate for your rights and the best interests of your child.

Reach out to Skillern Firm today at 936-213-8479 for a consultation.

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