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Does a Criminal Record Affect Child Custody?

Douglas A. Ball Attorney at Law  Jan. 24, 2023

Criminal record and handcuffs on a desk.Having a criminal record can impact many aspects of your life. Besides obvious consequences like incarceration, a criminal record may also affect your ability to gain custody of your children. However, whether your criminal record will affect your child custody arrangement depends largely on what crime you committed.  

If you have concerns about how your criminal record might affect your custody rights, consult with a knowledgeable lawyer. Douglas A. Ball Attorney at Law assists parents in obtaining custody of their kids in Batavia, Ohio, and surrounding areas, including Brown County, Clermont County, Hamilton County, and Warren County. As a child custody lawyer, Douglas A. Ball has the necessary experience and skills to fight for you regardless of whether you have a criminal background.  

Factors Considered in Determining Custody in Ohio  

Although Ohio courts recognize the importance of having both parents in children’s lives, they do not grant custody rights to both parents automatically. Instead, courts will consider a number of factors when determining custody in order to ensure the best interests of the child are protected.  

The factors considered in determining custody in Ohio include, but are not limited to: 

  • Each parent’s physical and mental well-being; 

  • The relationship between each parent and the child; 

  • The child’s preferences; 

  • Each parent’s ability to provide a loving and stable home; 

  • Whether or not each parent is likely to honor the court’s orders and custody arrangement; and 

  • Each parent’s criminal record.  

As you can see, although a criminal record can play an important role in determining child custody, judges will also consider many other factors when deciding a custody arrangement.  

Effects of a Criminal Record on Child Custody  

When it comes to custody issues, courts are required to make decisions based on what is in the best interests of the child or children involved. This means that having a criminal record may affect the court’s decision regarding parental rights and responsibilities. 

A criminal record can have serious implications for one’s ability to obtain legal custody of their children. Depending on the nature and severity of the offense(s) involved, individuals with felony convictions (or certain misdemeanor convictions) may be denied custody entirely, while those with lesser offenses may still face restrictions such as supervised visits or mandatory counseling sessions. 

  • Misdemeanors. As a rule of thumb, most misdemeanor convictions are unlikely to have any impact on a child custody case unless they show a history of violence or substance abuse. For example, if a parent has multiple assault or battery convictions on their record, it might be an indication that the parent has anger issues or violent tendencies, which could potentially endanger the child’s safety.  

  • Felonies. A felony conviction may not automatically disqualify you from obtaining custody of your child. As with misdemeanors, Ohio courts look at the type of crime when determining whether or not a felony conviction could endanger the child’s safety. For example, a conviction for a non-violent felony may not have the same effect on child custody as a violent felony.  

Courts also consider how long it has been since the parent’s conviction. If the conviction is old, the judge may be less likely to consider it for the purposes of determining child custody. If a parent is still incarcerated or on probation, on the other hand, the conviction is more likely to impact the judge’s decision.  

Additionally, it is essential that parents adhere to any and all restrictions imposed by the court related to their criminal records and parent-child relationships. Failure to comply could result in serious consequences, such as a modification of current orders or even termination of parental rights altogether. It is also important that parents keep their records up-to-date and disclose any new arrests or convictions promptly so that the court can take these into account when making decisions about custody or visitation rights. 

How Domestic Violence Affects Custody  

If you were convicted of domestic violence, you might need to worry about the potential effect of your criminal record on your ability to get custody rights. Ohio law requires courts to consider parents’ domestic violence convictions when making custody determinations.  

A domestic violence conviction may cause a judge to limit parenting time or even deny custody altogether. However, as mentioned previously, whether or not a conviction – including domestic violence – can affect child custody depends on what is in the child’s best interests.  

If the court denies your custody or visitation rights because of your criminal record, it is critical to follow the court’s order with no exception. Failure to honor the court’s orders can result in unintended consequences, including the inability to get custody/visitation rights down the line.  

Rely on Experienced Representation  

If you have a criminal history and are concerned that your conviction might affect your child custody case, consult with a lawyer. Everyone’s situation is unique, which makes it difficult to assume the potential impact of your criminal record on child custody without considering all of the factors. Contact Douglas A. Ball Attorney at Law to get answers to your questions and determine how your criminal record may affect your child custody case.