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Can a Parent With a Criminal Record Get Child Custody in Florida?


In Florida, child custody cases are handled under the state’s ‘best interests of the child’ legal standard. In custody disputes, Florida family courts make decisions that are best for the health, safety, and overall well-being of the child. Along with a wide range of other things, courts will consider the background and history of each parent. If a parent has a criminal record, that could have an impact on the child custody proceedings.

A Criminal Record is Not an Automatic Bar —  The Facts of the Case Matter  

As a starting point, all Florida parents should know that a criminal record will not automatically bar them from getting joint custody of their children — or potentially even sole custody if the circumstances warrant such a finding. In making child custody determinations, family law courts want to ensure that parents have the ability to provide a safe and stable home for their children.

How a criminal record plays into that determination will depend entirely on the specific nature of the offense. Some criminal convictions may not make much of a difference in a custody case. For example, a one-time youthful trespassing offense that occurred decades ago is unlikely to play much of a role in a custody or visitation dispute. Of course, a past conviction for child abuse or domestic violence will have a major impact in a child custody dispute.

That type of history could even make a parent ineligible for custody. Other factors matter as well. For example, family law courts will consider things like time and atonement. If a parent was convicted for a drug-related offense many years ago, they already completed substance abuse treatment, and they have stayed clean, that will matter.

Child Custody Issues Must Be Handled on Case-By-Case Basis 

Every child custody case is unique. If you are involved in a dispute over child custody, it is crucial that you work with an attorney who will give your case the time and attention that it deserves. If your former partner has a criminal history and you believe that they are incapable of providing a safe environment for your child, a Clearwater child custody lawyer can help you fight for sole custody. On the other hand, if you have a criminal record, a custody attorney can advise you on how to effectively prepare and present your case so that you can demonstrate to the court that granting you custody is actually best for your child.

Get Help From Our Clearwater Child Custody Attorney Today

At the Law Office of Gale H. Moore P.A., our Florida child custody lawyer has extensive experience advocating for the rights and interests of parents. No matter the specific circumstances of your case, Gale Moore can guide you through the legal process with the skill and compassion that you deserve. To schedule a fully confidential review of your case, please do not hesitate to contact our Largo law office at 727-584-2528.



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