Aug 3, 2022

How a Criminal Record Affects Child Custody in Illinois

How a Criminal Record Affects Child Custody in Illinois

Child custody is complicated, as judges and courts want to ensure that children still receive the best lives possible when a divorce happens. To guarantee this, they deliberate over parental responsibilities, parenting time, and many factors to consider, such as criminal convictions. Read on to learn how exactly a criminal record affects child custody in Illinois.

How Custody Normally Works

Traditionally, custody works so that while the couple may not want to be together anymore, they remain amicable for the child. Even in cases with no amicability, judges and lawyers can help create Joint Parenting Agreements that allow both parents equal ability to be there for the child and give them the best life possible. However, other factors can come into the mix that complicates matters, such as a parent’s living situation, income, and criminal history.

Judge’s Consideration of Factors

In cases where the couple cannot come to a mutual agreement over their parenting plan, they will need to go to a family court that will consider all factors, including criminal histories. Criminal records make it difficult to do a lot of things, including getting custody of children. However, this does not mean the judge can't award parenting time or responsibilities. Judges consider several factors, such as:

  • How old the conviction is
  • If you are a repeat offender
  • The nature of the conviction

For example, a non-violent offense from over a decade ago is less likely to affect the allocation of parental responsibilities than a habitual history of violence and abuse.

Restrictions on Parenting Responsibilities

The nature and age of the conviction could lead to you receiving no parental responsibilities, but there are also instances in which a judge will allocate parental responsibilities, but with restrictions. For example, if the conviction was for drug use, they may require you to enroll in treatment and similarly prohibit you from using drugs in the child's presence. They may also prohibit specific individuals from being there during your parenting time or require your visits to be supervised. It may seem like a lot, but it is all in an effort to ensure the child is protected.

A criminal record can significantly affect your child custody agreements in Illinois. However, because there is some subjectivity to how a judge will decide on the matter, you need to ensure your defense is as solid as possible. At Schiller DuCanto & Fleck, we have some of the greatest parental rights lawyers in Illinois who can help represent you and get you the proper parenting plan that works for you.

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