It depends. Courts take into account several factors when dealing with criminal convictions of a parent. If your conviction is domestic violence then this raises the biggest red flag for courts. So we will start here when dealing with domestic violence and child custody.
Domestic Violence and Child Custody
A domestic violence conviction can prevent you from seeing your child, from obtaining spousal support, and even result in a restraining order filed against you. This is by far one of the most serious crimes that will affect your ability to see your child. The best thing to do is avoid a criminal conviction of domestic violence. But if it’s too late and you have the conviction, you have to comply with the terms of your probation. This means going to your 52 week domestic violence classes AND completing them. Once you have it completed get the certificate and show it to the judge.
What happens if you haven’t completed the class yet? Then you need to do your best and keep going to the classes. Judges in family court generally will not let you see your child if you haven’t completed the classes. Another thing to consider is that you need to finish up your probation. If you haven’t already done so, consider filing a motion for an early termination of probation.
If it has been several years since your criminal conviction, then you don’t have to worry as much. I’m talking about at least five years. If the conviction is 10 or more years, don’t even worry about it since it was so long ago.
Time can be your best friend. The more time you can show without any run-ins with the law, the better. If in the past four years all you have are speeding tickets, then your domestic violence conviction from ten years ago won’t matter.
Theft, burglary, drug possession, and violent crimes can still prevent you from seeing your child. Even though there is no domestic violence, courts can still deem you a danger to your child if you have a history of serious felony convictions. The same rules apply as above, you need to make sure you comply with the terms of your probation. Second, if your crimes did not specifically involve your child, then you have a fighting chance at saving custody time with your kid. Remember the courts standard is whether there is a substantial danger to the child.
Consider speaking with an attorney to figure out what’s the best way to present your convictions to a judge.