Effect of Felony Conviction on Divorce and Custody Cases

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by Scott Morgan on January 15, 2013

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(US law) A divorce is one of the most difficult things to go through even under the best of circumstances. When child custody is involved it becomes that much more difficult. However, if you are in that situation and you have a felony conviction you usually face a truly uphill battle.

Recent Felonies Carry More Weight

If your conviction was in the recent past it can greatly affect the outcome of your case. Unlike in other matters such as voting, a felony on your record does not really take away any rights in matters of divorce. But it can bring statutory presumptions into play and create a lot of serious judicial biases against you.

A Felony Conviction Can Be a Grounds for Divorce

In some states a felony conviction is one of the possible grounds for divorce. In those states, the spouse the non-felon spouse is at a very strong advantage. In other states it is not a specific grounds for divorce a felony but you still have a very systematic bias against you that will be hard to overcome on any discretionary matter.

Felonies Can Make Child Custody Difficult to Win

The biggest problems you will encounter involve child custody and access matters. The courts will attempt to do what is in the best interests of the child. As such, they look at the character and parenting ability of both parents. If your conviction is for something that the courts feel could put the child in jeopardy, this could play a big role in how the court rules.  It could result in no access or supervised visitation.

Even if your conviction is unrelated to the care of the child, the conviction can still make a difference. If your conviction shows that you would be a poor role model for the child, visitation and custody could be limited, even if it is not deemed necessary to supervise visitation. If the conviction stems from a particular situation, place or group of people, visitation may be limited to avoid those things.

The Further in the Past the Conviction the Better Your Chances

If your conviction is in the distant past, you may find that it does not affect your case that much. If you can show that you have been rehabilitated, and that you are a fit parent in every other regard, the felony conviction may make little difference.

Of course, every case is different. It is important to discuss your case with a legal professional to determine what may be possible given the details of your conviction. Ultimately it is up to the judge to decide your fate.

About the Author

Scott Morgan is a board certified Houston divorce lawyer.  He also handles Austin divorce cases from the firm’s Austin office.

Scott Morgan
Morgan Law Firm is dedicated exclusively to representing clients in divorce and family law matters. Founded in 1994 by Scott Morgan, the Morgan Law Firm strives to diligently represent its client's interests and conclude their cases fairly and expeditiously.
Scott Morgan
Scott Morgan
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