Many people think that if one has a criminal history that it becomes an automatic bar to winning custody. That is simply not true. While having a criminal history is not optimal, it is a reality for many people who find themselves litigating over custody. Exploration of the issue, however, is required.
The first question is what type of criminal history does the person have? Is it a DWI or a murder? Is it a misdemeanor or felony? The more sever the more likely the history could impact on a custody case.
The second question is how long ago was the crime? Was it more than 10 years ago? Was it last week? The proximity of the crime to the current custody dispute is an important consideration. Aside from evidentiary prohibitions, if there was a one time indiscretion 10+ years ago then it’s less likely that this situation will have much impact.
The third question is how frequent is this person has a run in with the law? Is the person a habitual offender? Or is this a one time indiscretion? Frequency and character play an important role when it comes to assessing the impact of a criminal claim. Accordingly, the existence of a criminal history is not dispositive on its own. It requires a deeper analysis.