Criminal Charges and Child Custody

Criminal and Family Law Attorneys Serving Schaumburg, Palatine, and Barrington, Illinois

Child custody cases are decided based on what is in the best interests of the child(ren) involved. Of course, the mental and emotional health of the parents and the environment that they provide for the child(ren) are going to be major factors in assessing what is in the their best interest.

If one or more of the parents has a previous conviction or has pleaded guilty to a crime that involves child neglect or abuse, this is, of course, going to be relevant to the child custody and/or visitation determination. The court has some discretion in deciding how it takes the prior crime(s) into account, and the type of offense, when it was committed, who the victim was, how many convictions there were, etc. are all important factors that the court will take into account in deciding how criminal charges will affect child custody.

If you are dealing with a child custody case that involves criminal charges, contact Glasgow & Olsson. As attorneys that practice both criminal and family law, we are one of the few firms in Illinois that understands how the two overlap and influence each other when it comes to court proceedings. We are here to help, and provide you with an assessment of your options when it comes to providing for and protecting your child, your rights, and your family.

The Law

In most states, a parent who has been convicted or pleaded guilty to child abuse, endangerment, or a child sexual abuse-related crime will typically be denied custodial rights and will have severe limitations placed on visitation rights, as well.

Specifically, under Illinois law, in determining a child’s best interests for the purposes of assigning parental responsibility over major decisions in the child’s life, the occurrence of the following constitute factors that must be considered alongside all of the other listed factors (such as the wishes of the child and parents):

  • Abuse against the child or another member of the child’s household;
  • The physical violence or threat of physical violence by the child’s parent directed against the child; and
  • Whether one of the parents is a sex offender, and if so, the exact nature of the offense and what, if any, treatment they have successfully participated in.

Courts have the discretion to limit custody and visitation depending upon the nature of the felony, how long it has been since it was committed, how many felonies were committed (alongside any other criminal activity), and related issues. In addition, no child's grandparent, great-grandparent, sibling, stepparent, or any person to whom the court is considering granting visitation privileges may be granted these visitation privileges if they have been convicted of first degree murder of a parent, grandparent, great-grandparent, or sibling of the child who is the subject of the visitation request.

However, in furtherance of parents’ rights in general, courts will typically not use unrelated felonies (i.e. ones that did not cause harm to a child or someone else in the child’s household) against the parent in deciding on custody and/or visitation.

Experienced Child Custody Attorneys

If you need advice and assistance in a child custody case that involves criminal charges, contact our firm for your consultation. We are here to ensure that you and your child’s best interests are served.