Can having a criminal record impart a court’s child custody decision?

handcuffs gavel arrest child custody

Child custody is usually a contested issue. If a couple cannot reach an agreement on child custody, they will have to go to court to resolve the matter. A judge after evaluating various factors will decide on an appropriate custody agreement. The court’s main priority is protecting a child’s physical, emotional, and mental well-being. This makes many people wonder whether having a criminal record can influence a judge’s custody determination. Please continue to follow along to learn whether having a criminal record can impact a court’s child custody decision. In addition, learn how a seasoned Monmouth County Child Custody Attorney can help you today. 

Can I get custody of my child if I have a criminal record?

If you have a criminal record, that does not mean you will automatically be denied custody of your child. If you have a criminal record, you could be awarded sole or joint custody. However, it ultimately depends on what the nature of the crime was, whether there were any subsequent offenses, and how long ago you were charged with the crime. For instance, if you were charged with theft 18 years ago and there are no subsequent offenses, having a criminal record may not carry significant weight in a custody determination. However, if the nature of your crime was violent or sexual, you will likely be denied any form of custody or parenting time. As mentioned above, the court examines numerous factors when deciding on a custody agreement. However, the primary factor the court takes into account is the best interests of a child. A criminal record can have a significant impact on custody if it is believed that a child will not be safe if one parent is granted custody or parenting time. Courts prioritize protecting the overall well-being of a child. Moreover, the court believes that it is in a child’s best interest to be nurtured by both parents. With that being said, you may be awarded some form of custody despite having a criminal record.

What factors do courts take into account when making a decision?

In New Jersey, the court must consider the following factors when determining what is in the best interest of a child:

  • Each parent’s relationship with the child.
  • The needs of the child.
  • The age and number of children.
  • The stability of each parent’s home environment.
  • The proximity between each parent’s home.
  • The parental preferences of a child.
  • Whether either parent has a criminal record.
  • Whether either parent has committed domestic violence.
  • Each parent’s fitness.

The above-listed are only some of the many factors the court takes into consideration when deciding on custody. Each factor influences the court’s custody determination.

If you are seeking custody of your child, it is paramount that you retain the legal services of a trusted and determined attorney. Allow our firm to fight on your behalf today.