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How the Court Considers Criminal History with Custody


The child custody laws in Texas are geared toward the best interests of children. In most cases, divorced or separated parents can mutually resolve child custody arrangements without battling it out in court. In some cases, however, if the parents can’t reach an amicable decision, the court must step in and apply the fundamental child custody principles to come up with a fair custody order. When deciding whether to remove or limit a parent’s custody or visitation rights, the judge must consider various factors.

Judges evaluate parents based on factors that demonstrate the negative and positive aspects of their parental influence on their child because the judges’ main concern is the well-being of the child. This means the court will need to consider a parent’s criminal history when determining child custody arrangements.

How Does a Parent’s Criminal History Impact Their Custody Rights?

The child’s best interests will always take precedence in custody cases. When deciding what’s in the child’s best interests the court must consider the parent’s character, background, and criminal history. Unfortunately, the court considers a parent’s criminal conviction an essential indication of their morality and character.

When deciding custody cases, the judge will consider each parent’s personality, relationship with their child, physical and mental health, and parenting abilities, among many others. Having a criminal history could negatively impact your visitation or custody rights. It’s likely that a criminal record for a non-violent offense from many years ago that got discharged would impact custody decisions far less seriously than a recent and violent crime.

Put simply, the court is more inclined to let an offender foster a relationship with their children if the crime they committed does not indicate behavior that would put the child’s health and safety at risk. For instance, a theft conviction from 10 years ago, absent no other offenses, would probably have no significant impact on custody decisions. On the other hand, a history of a recent assaultive offense, particularly if there are other offenses, undoubtedly would.

A parent’s criminal record may also discredit their ability to take care of their child properly, depending on the severity and nature of the offense they committed. When evaluating parents, judges will consider the victim’s age, the offense’s nature, and the severity of the sentence. They must see that the parent has taken the necessary steps to clear their record (if possible), has been rehabilitated, and has not committed any more offenses.

Seek Legal Guidance From a Skilled San Antonio Family Law Attorney Now

A criminal history can significantly influence the court when determining child visitation and custody orders. But that alone shouldn’t be a huge factor, especially if the offense was non-violent, an isolated incident, and happened many years ago. Whether you are concerned if your criminal history may impact your custody rights or worried about your co-parent’s criminal history, talk to our San Antonio family law attorney to help protect your and your child’s best interests.

Call Hoelscher Gebbia Cepeda PLLC at San Antonio 210-222-9132 or reach us online to arrange your appointment with our San Antonio family law attorney.