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Can a Criminal History Affect Child Custody in Illinois?

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joliet family law attorneyA criminal record can make it more difficult to get a job, rent an apartment, and legally own firearms. It can also affect your chances of getting custody of your children. Family law judges consider the children’s best interests in custody cases and may be reluctant to award custody to a parent with a criminal history. However, having a criminal record does not automatically mean that you cannot be awarded parenting time with your children. 

How a Criminal Record Can Jeopardize Your Child Custody Case

If you have a criminal record and are in the middle of a child custody dispute, you may worry that your past will negatively influence the outcome of the case. Although it may be more challenging to gain the parental responsibilities and parenting time outcome you are hoping for, it is not impossible. A judge will consider several factors regarding your criminal history before coming to a decision.

Non-violent criminal convictions are less likely to affect the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time than convictions involving assault, battery, or abuse. Family court judges also look at how old your criminal conviction is. If you, for instance, got convicted of an offense over a decade ago and have not gotten in trouble with the law since then, the judge is less likely to use this information when deciding custody. The frequency of your offenses may also affect the outcome of your case. If you are a repeat offender, the judge may question your judgment and question whether you can provide a stable environment for your children.

Restricted Parenting Time or Parental Responsibilities

In some cases, the court may order certain restrictions on parenting time or parental responsibilities. The court has the authority to:

  • Require parents with drug or alcohol dependency problems to attend treatment

  • Prohibit the parent from using drugs in the child’s presence

  • Prohibit certain individuals from being present during the parent’s parenting time

  • Require supervised parenting time or “supervised visits”

  • Order any other restriction that is needed to ensure the child’s best interests are protected

Contact a Will County Family Lawyer

If you have a criminal history and are trying to get custody of your children, discuss your case with a Joliet, IL family attorney. At the Law Offices of Tedone & Morton, P.C., we understand the difficult situation you are in and can help you assert your rights. Call us at 815-666-1285 to schedule a free consultation.


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