How Criminal Charges Affect Custody Cases

Can You Still Get Custody?

Child custody disputes already carry heavy amounts of complexity and tension, but those issues multiply greatly if one parent has a criminal charge or conviction. While having a charge or conviction on your record does not automatically thrust the mantra of “bad parent” on you, the type of crime you were charged with may play a role in how custody is awarded. Here is what you need to know.

Factors Influencing Custody

Missouri state law provides a number of factors that go into determining a child custody award. While a custody decision is ultimately to serve the best interests of a child, one of the factors that play into this decision is a criminal charge or conviction on a parent’s record. Note, however, that the law specifically states that custody or unsupervised visitation will not be awarded to someone who has been convicted of one of the charges listed. Where does that leave merely having a charge?

The Role of Charges

While the law specifically states that a conviction plays a big part in determining custody, having a charge may still play a role in that award. Two of the factors to consider when looking at criminal charges are the type of charge as well as the recency of the charge.

First, how recently you were charged with the crime may play a part in determining custody. If you have a misdemeanor charge that occurred over 10 years ago, for example, that might not play as big of a role in your case when compared to a charge that occurred within the last few weeks.

The type of charge will also help determine a custody award. If you were charged with a serious felony, you may not have as much of a chance at receiving custody when compared to someone who was charged with misdemeanor theft or something similar. However, if you commit a lesser crime and have multiple charges over time for that same crime, that might signify a bigger issue to a judge awarding custody.

Working with an Attorney to Defend Your Rights

Whether or not you have criminal charges, you have the right to be a parent. It’s imperative that you work with a family law attorney who can defend your rights to see your children in court, especially if you have a past criminal charge on your record. At Rutter and Sleeth Law Offices, our team is committed to helping our clients receive the best possible outcome in their custody cases. We are standing by ready to help you.

To schedule a consultation with one of our custody attorneys or to get started with us, call us at (573) 279-1349 or visit us online.