Maybe you already have a shared custody arrangement with your ex following the end of your relationship, or perhaps you are in the early stages of a divorce and have yet to attend any custody hearings in the Texas family courts. If you find yourself accused of some sort of criminal offense while you have responsibility to minor children, you will naturally worry that those charges may affect your parental rights.
Criminal matters can have a ripple effect on your work and your personal relationships. Will your criminal charges potentially have an impact on your parenting rights in Texas?
A judge could consider your conviction
If you plead guilty or the courts convict you of an offense, the charges could influence a judge’s ruling on a custody matter. Charges related to substance abuse or domestic violence are the most likely to affect how a judge perceives a parent.
All custody decisions should reflect what is in the best interest of the children. Judges may agree when one parent claims that sole custody would be appropriate because of the other’s history of drug abuse, drunk driving or domestic violence.
Less serious criminal offenses might serve as evidence of someone’s emotional or financial instability and convince a judge to limit that parent’s access to the children. If the charges result in a jail sentence, incarceration will inevitably affect your parenting plan because you won’t be able to provide for your children.
Convictions can give rise to modifications
If you avoid jail time and already have a custody order giving you 50% of the parenting time for your children, you might assume that your criminal charges will have no impact on your family circumstances. However, your ex could potentially go to the family courts and ask for a modification.
If a judge agrees that reducing your parenting time in light of your criminal conviction would be in the best interest of the children, you might lose time with your kids despite facing charges that have nothing to do with your parenting.
Parents who already have a criminal record are often at a disadvantage during family law proceedings and may require more support to protect their relationship with their children. Identifying factors that may complicate custody matters can help you protect your parenting time.