Forward-Thinking. Bold. Committed.

The impact of a criminal record on divorce and child custody

On Behalf of | Sep 28, 2023 | Family Law

According to a recent study conducted by the National Institute of Justice, police will have arrested approximately 30% of adults in the United States by the age of 23.

More and more people are having encounters with the criminal justice system, which can have lasting repercussions on various aspects of life, including divorce and child custody proceedings.

Parental fitness evaluation

When determining child custody arrangements, courts focus on the best interests of the child. A parent’s criminal record can play a huge role in this evaluation. It may raise concerns about a parent’s ability to provide a safe and stable environment.

Impact on custody allocation

A criminal record can heavily influence the allocation of custody. Courts may lean towards awarding sole custody to the non-offending parent or imposing supervised visitation to ensure the child’s safety.

Rehabilitation efforts matter

The judge may consider rehabilitation efforts when evaluating a parent’s suitability for custody. Completion of rehabilitation programs, counseling, or therapy can show a commitment to personal growth and change.

Substance abuse and criminal records

Substance abuse issues often intersect with criminal records. A history of drug-related offenses can significantly impact custody decisions, as courts prioritize a stable and drug-free environment for the child.

Communication and cooperation

Effective communication and cooperation between parents are important for successful co-parenting. A criminal record, particularly one involving violence or domestic abuse, can hinder the ability to establish a healthy co-parenting relationship.

Modification of custody orders

A criminal record can also influence the modification of custody orders. If a parent’s criminal behavior persists or escalates, the judge may reevaluate custody arrangements to ensure the child’s continued well-being.

In divorce and child custody, a criminal record can wield substantial influence over the outcome. It is important for individuals with such records to be proactive in demonstrating their commitment to rehabilitation and personal growth. Ultimately, while a criminal record may present challenges, it does not define a person’s capacity to be a loving, responsible, and capable parent.