In a statistic released in the year 2000, it noted that approximately 6.6 percent of all U.S. adults are convicted felons. That statistic equates to a rate of 1 out of every 15 Americans having a criminal record. While policies vary depending on jurisdiction, certain felony convictions on a parent’s record may prevent him or her from either gaining or retaining custody of one’s child.
As an example of this, a parent who has been convicted of a crime such as child endangerment or abuse, or a sexually-related offense will likely have difficulty in maintaining custodial rights, if he or she has them, or lose them altogether. If a parent with a conviction for one of these crimes is able to preserve rights to visitation, they will most likely come with hefty restrictions placed on them.
At the same time, a parent that has been charged with a violent criminal offense, such as murder, may not even have an opportunity to plea one’s case for child custody or visitation. Many states automatically terminate a parent’s custodial rights when charged with a crime such as this.
Securing custody or visitation of your child, in the event you have a felony on your record, will, in many cases, boil down to the nature of the offense(s), any potential mitigating factors, and how much time has passed since the conviction. The role of a judge is to determine which parent is most fit to raise the child and which approach is in the best interest of the child.
A parent with a felony conviction that is able to prove that he or she has maintained a clean criminal record following an indiscretion may be seen as reformed in the judge’s eyes. At the same time, in the case of either an unwed or divorced couple, the parent without the criminal conviction may ultimately be seen as most fit to raise the child.
If you have a felony conviction on your record and you’re seeking to gain either custody or visitation of your child, a Houston, Texas, family law attorney will be a valuable advocate.
Source: Livestrong.org, “Felony Conviction & Child Custody Rights,” Jon Williams, accessed April 14, 2017