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Can I Get Custody If I Have a Criminal Record?

A criminal record can have a devastating effect on several areas of your life. However, it should not necessarily prevent you from getting full or joint custody of your child. As with all civil cases, the outcome of a child custody case in San Jose, California, depends on the circumstances of your crime, if (or how long) you have been in jail, and your current situation.

If you wish to regain custody of your child, but feel that you have treated unfairly, then you may want to explore your legal options. A child custody attorney in Santa Clara County, California can listen to your story, go over your options, and help you get custody even if you have a criminal record. Let’s explore some common misconceptions about custody battles, as well as how a criminal record can affect your case.

Common Misconceptions About Custody Battles

One of the most common misconceptions about custody battles after a divorce is that one parent wins while the other parent loses. If you have a criminal record, you may automatically assume that you have no right to custody. Therefore, you have already lost. You may have other misconceptions, such as:

  • You have to go to court if there is a custody disagreement
  • Your child can choose which parent to live with
  • Mothers always get full custody of the child
  • The other parent can withhold visitation because of your criminal record

You do not always have to go court if you have a custody battle. In fact, most cases are settled through informal negotiations, mediation, or arbitration. Furthermore, a criminal record does not necessarily negate your parental rights once you get out of jail.

Your child custody attorney can look over the facts of the case and help you determine your parental rights and what legal strategy you should pursue to regain full or joint child custody.

How a Criminal Record Can Affect Your Case

There are several factors that a court may consider when ruling on a child custody case if you have a criminal record, including: 

The Crime You Committed

A court's sole concern is the safety and nurturing of the child. As such, the court will probe into the nature of the crime and your criminal history to determine if they will award you custody of your child. A violent crime may deter a judge from granting you custody. However, a drug charge may not negate your parental rights. The court will also consider how recent your conviction was and how long you've been in jail.

Your Sentence

Completing a sentence does not necessarily restore your parental rights. However, a completed sentence can start you on the path to custody. If the other parent refuses to allow you to see your child, your child custody attorney in San Jose, California, can consult you on your legal options and help you with your case. 

Your Current Situation

A court may decide to grant full or joint custody of your child based on your current situation once you get out of your prison. They may assess your ability to gain employment, provide a home, or keep your child safe. In addition, you may be required to complete a court-ordered mandate such as rehab.

How an Attorney Can Help

There are several ways that a child custody attorney can help you with your case, including:

  • Manage your entire case from start to finish
  • Guide you through the legal process so that you avoid making mistakes
  • Obtain evidence and documents related to your case
  • Engage with the other parent or related party on your behalf
  • Modify any previous child custody agreement to meet you or your child’s needs

Your attorney will help you develop a legal strategy that establishes your position and protects your parental rights.

Contact a Child Custody Attorney in San Jose Today

Are you currently in a child custody battle? If so, we can help. The Law Offices of Steven E. Springer can represent you in court and fight to get you full or joint custody of your child. Call us at 408-606-9981 or fill out the form below for a free consultation with an attorney in San Jose, Morgan Hill, or Fremont, California.


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