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How will my Criminal Record Affect my Child Custody Order?


As any parent with a parenting plan knows, the court tailors every child’s parenting plan to his or her unique needs and circumstances. That means that even if your lifestyle is substantially similar to your best friend’s, your parenting plan could be quite different from his or her parenting plan.

When the court creates a parenting plan, it considers a variety of factors about the child’s needs and the parents’ lifestyles and backgrounds. Anything the court deems relevant in the parents’ backgrounds is considered, including their criminal records.

Your Child’s Best Interest is the Highest Priority

The court considers a variety of factors to determine the arrangement that is in your child’s best interest, including:

  • The parents’ moral fitness;
  • Any history of domestic violence in either parent’s household;
  • Each parent’s demonstrated capacity to provide the child with a home environment free of substance abuse;
  • Each parent’s demonstrated capacity to act in the child’s best interest, rather than according to his or her own desires;
  • Any history of child abuse in either parent’s household;
  • Either parent’s history of denying or failing to report child abuse; and
  • Each parent’s capacity to participate in the child’s education and extracurricular activities.

A parent’s criminal past can impact all of these factors, depending on the nature of the offense, how far in the past the offense occurred, and whether the parent has been rehabilitated.

Issues the Court Considers when Examining your Criminal Record

Do not assume that simply having a criminal record means you cannot have court-ordered parenting time with your child. When the court considers your past, it considers the following about your convictions:

  • Their nature. Do you have one or more violent or drug-related offense on your record, or were you convicted of a white collar crime? The court is tasked with keeping your child safe from harm;
  • When did the offense occur? Are you currently facing a charge or completing a criminal sentence, or did you complete your sentence years ago?
  • How many convictions are on your record? The court considers a multi-time offender much differently than somebody who might have made a one-time mistake;
  • Were you rehabilitated? If you struggled with drug or alcohol addiction in the past and the addiction led to a criminal charge or offense, did you receive help? How long have you been sober?
  • Who was the victim of the offense? Offenses against children are considered heavily when creating parenting plans.

Work with an Experienced Orlando Family Lawyer

Having a criminal record can definitely have a negative impact on your child custody order. But it does not have to. Prove to the court that your criminal record has no bearing on your ability to parent your child by working with an experienced Orlando family lawyer. Get started with the Law Offices of Steve W. Marsee, P.A. today by contacting our office to set up your initial legal consultation.



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