How Does the Court Consider Criminal History When Awarding Custody?

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When it comes to awarding custody of children, the court takes a number of factors into consideration. One important factor is criminal history. If you have a criminal history, you might be wondering how this will impact your chances of getting custody - or even visitation with your children. Our family law attorneys at Cofer & Connelly, PLLC share how the court looks at criminal history when making decisions about child custody and what you can do to improve your chances of success.

A Parent's Criminal History Can Impact Custody

If you have a criminal record or pending charges, it is important to understand how that might impact your child custody case. In Texas, the court must consider the “best interests of the child” when making any decisions about custody. This means that the court will look at a number of different factors to determine what is in the best interests of your child.

Considerations By the Court

In Texas, the court will consider criminal history when making time-sharing and legal custody decisions.

The court will look at the following:

  • The type and severity of the offense.
  • How long ago it occurred.
  • Whether there are any victims involved.
  • Whether you have taken any steps to rehabilitate yourself.

Alongside this review of your criminal history, the court will also consider if physical custody or supervised visitation would be in your child's best interests when awarding custody.

Impacts on Custody

If the court's review determines that a continued relationship due to your criminal history and background is harmful to your child, it will negatively affect your chances of obtaining custody of your child. However, an experienced family law attorney can advocate for your continued relationship with your child in a form that would be positive for their upbringing.

A criminal history can impact your chances of getting custody in a number of ways:

  • The court might limit your time-sharing with your children or only allow you to have supervised visitation.
  • The court might award sole legal custody to the other parent if it believes that you pose a danger to your children.
  • The court might order you to undergo drug or alcohol testing as a condition of visitation.

It is important to note that a criminal record is not an automatic barrier to custody. The courts do believe that a continued relationship with both parents is positive for the child and will work with both parties so each parent can have a continued relationship with their child.

How Can I Protect My Parental Rights?

Having a skilled family law attorney is essential to help you navigate the custody process if you have a criminal record. The attorney can help you review your circumstances and help you prepare for the road ahead.

An attorney can also:

  • Gather evidence to support your claim that you are a fit parent.
  • Help you prove that you have taken steps to rehabilitate yourself since your criminal conviction.
  • Argue for joint custody or time-sharing arrangements that would be in your child's best interests.
  • Work with the other parent to develop a parenting plan that would be in the best interests of your child.

With the support and guidance of an experienced attorney, you can continue to seek custody of your child and advocate for your parental rights.

We Can Do More

If you are a parent seeking custody of your child and you are concerned about your custody rights, we can help. Our family law and criminal defense attorneys understand the importance of getting your case right to protect your parental rights and maintain your relationship with your child.

Give us a call today at (512) 991-0576 to schedule a consultation with a member of our team. Our attorneys are prepared to help you through your case and seek your best possible outcome.

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