How does a felony conviction affect custodial rights?

| Jun 4, 2019 | Family Law |

According to LiveStrong, as many as six percent of adults in the United States have felony convictions. That means that one in every 15 adults today will serve some time in prison. Many of those adults are parents. If you are one in 15 with a felony conviction on your record, you may wonder how the conviction will affect your Texas child custody case. That depends on the nature of your crime and your behavior in the years following the conviction.

Unfortunately, convictions of certain crimes may cause the courts to terminate or curtail custodial rights altogether. These crimes are typically violent in nature and/or involve crimes against children or loved ones. For instance, if your crime involved child endangerment, child abuse or sexual assault, chances are slim that you will gain any custodial rights. If the courts do award you visitation, they may place limitations on how you spend your time with your child. Other violent crimes the courts may consider grounds for termination of custodial rights include murder, domestic violence and assault with a deadly weapon.

That said, if your crime did not involve violence against a child, or if it did not demonstrate a violent tendency on your part, the courts may be willing to overlook it when awarding custodial rights. For example, if the courts convicted you for the crime of tax fraud, you may be able to retain partial or full custody after you serve your sentence.

Before awarding custody to the parent with a felony conviction, however, the judge will exercise his or her own discretion and make a decision based on what he or she thinks is best for the welfare of the child. In many cases, the judge may consider the availability and quality of an alternative parent or guardian before granting a convicted felon custody. The judge will also take into consideration the length of time that has passed since the conviction and the parent’s record outside of the conviction in question.

Unfortunately, regardless of if your crime was nonviolent, and regardless of if you have a clean record outside of the conviction, if you are divorced or unwed, and if your child’s other parent petitions for custody, you possess a distinct disadvantage in court. If you do not receive custody, however, you may still obtain visitation rights.

This article is for educational purposes only. You should not read it as legal advice.