Can A Criminal Record Impact A Court’s Child Custody Decision?

criminal in custody

Child custody cases can be difficult for many different reasons. It can be an emotional decision to determine how much time a child should spend with each of their parents or caregivers. Furthermore, many parents in these cases wonder what factors will be considered when a judge makes a child custody decision. Our knowledgeable law firm has all the answers you might be looking for! Continue reading to find out if a criminal record could have any impact on New Jersey’s child custody rulings. You may also reach out to one of our Child Custody Evaluation Attorneys in Bergen County, NJ for individualized legal counseling.


In New Jersey courts, the best interests of the child always determine a child custody decision. Each parent must prove that they are absolutely capable of providing their child with sufficient care. Parents that are attempting to win sole custody can also show proof that the other parent is unfit. This could mean that a parent with a criminal record might have a lesser chance of earning custody of their child.


This entirely depends on the circumstances of your specific child custody case. It’s a good idea to speak with an experienced family law attorney who can help you determine your best options. In general, though, a judge can still grant a parent with a criminal record custody of their child depending on various factors. The courts will likely investigate your criminal record and take these considerations into account:

  • The types of crimes committed
  • How much time has passed since the crimes have been committed and/or since the sentencings
  • The number of crimes you have committed
  • Whether your crimes involved any type of violence
  • If there were victims of your crimes, who your crimes were committed against
  • The sentencing you received
  • Whether your crimes were gang-related
  • Whether you have spent any time in prison

Certain crimes almost always lead to a parent losing custody of their child. For example, if a parent is convicted of committing an act of sexual violence against another person, they could be seen as a threat to their own child. The court might argue that the parent can only have supervised visitation rights with their child if any custody rights at all. Talk to a lawyer if you have a criminal record to see how you can prove to the court how you are still fit to be a parent.

Are you currently fighting to earn child custody rights in court? You don’t have to face these legal proceedings alone. The good news is that dedicated law firms like ours are here to help you every step of the way! Contact Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark today for an initial consultation.

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