How Will My Criminal Record Impact My Alabama Child Custody Case?

Child custody battles in Alabama often exhaust both parties. You may need to fight for every moment with your child after your divorce or split which often requires digging deep into the dirt. In some cases, the cards are stacked against you – especially if you have a notable criminal record.

Alabama family courts will always favor the best interest of the child. This means whatever best serves, protects, and provides for your child will be the court’s default judgment. If the judge believes giving custody or visitation to a parent would put the child at risk then it’s highly unlikely they will opt to do so. So, how could a criminal record factor into this?

Violent crimes and sex offenses

This may not need to be stated, but if you have a history of violent crimes (especially domestic violence) or sex offenses on your record then it will, of course, impact your Alabama custody case. A record of committing violent acts in unlawful ways makes it far more difficult to argue in favor of custody and/or visitation.

Having these crimes on your record does not automatically mean the courts will never give visitation, but it’s certainly a strong deterrent. If both parents have a history of violent crimes or sex offenses then it could result in neither parent retaining custody or visitation rights.

Some judges will work with the party in question to understand if any meaningful steps have been taken to mitigate the risk of future actions. Anger management and similar programs to create a safer environment in the home could be the difference between custody and no time at all.

Drug or alcohol offenses

Drug or alcohol offenses may be “victimless” crimes, but they do create an unsafe environment. If you are unable to safely use drugs or alcohol then the court will determine you are unable to provide a safe and stable home.

Any recent charges will severely limit your ability to secure custodial or visitation rights with your child. If the records are deep in your past and you have been through programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous or drug treatment programs then your attorney should be able to get the court to be more lenient about past charges.

Criminal record of acquaintances

Another factor you need to consider is who you are associating yourself with. Do you have a new partner, friends, and/or family that hang around your home that have a criminal past? Even if you have a pristine record, those around you could still cost you time with your child.

Alabama family courts will not put a child in harm’s way. This includes situations where a parent frequently welcomes unstable or suspicious guests to spend time with their child.

Working with a law firm that understands both the criminal defense and family law processes when you have a checkered past could save your chances of custody or visitation. Contact John M. Totten, P.C. when you need help navigating an Alabama child custody case despite a criminal record.

John M. Totten