Family Law

Child Custody

Can a parent have child custody if he or she has committed a crime?

Some states prohibit or limit parents’s custody if they have committed certain sex or violent crimes. For example, Arizona prohibits a parent from having custody or even unsupervised parental time if he or she is a convicted sex offender or a murderer of a former spouse—unless the court makes written findings that the parent poses no significant risk to the child.

Pennsylvania law requires courts to give consideration to the fact that any parent, seeking custody or visitation, has been convicted of homicide, kidnapping, rape, unlawful restraint, prostitution, sexual abuse, indecent exposure or indecent assault. Thus, criminal conduct can have a negative impact on a parent’s future custody.

Some states prohibit a court from awarding custody to a parent who has committed murder.


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