People make mistakes that land them on the wrong side of the law all of the time. When you’re going through a nasty divorce and custody is a hard-fought issue, however, ending up under arrest and facing charges for just about anything can be a serious problem.

It could be even worse if you’re convicted or plead guilty. Under Missouri’s laws, some felony violations — especially those involving sexually based offenses and crimes against children — pretty much guarantee that you won’t receive either custody or unsupervised visitation. (In fact, even living with someone who has that kind of felony record could put your custody and visitation in danger.)

Even if you aren’t charged with such a serious crime, here are some of the charges that could cause problems with your custody:

  • Assault and battery: Maybe you were drowning your sorrows at a bar when someone picked a fight. Unfortunately, a judge may be inclined to believe that an assault or battery conviction means that you’re generally violent and that it could be risky for you to be unsupervised around a child.
  • Domestic violence: If a fight with your soon-to-be-ex turns explosive and you’re convicted of domestic violence, you could see your custody rights evaporate. Again, a judge is likely to believe that your temper makes you a danger to the kids.
  • Drug or alcohol charges: Were you caught driving home after a few drinks? Were you found in possession of a few pain pills that weren’t yours? A judge may be concerned that you have a drinking or drug problem that could affect your parenting skills.

Don’t let a criminal conviction destroy your custody case. If you are facing criminal charges of any kind during a divorce, make sure that you have an aggressive defense. The stakes are too high to do anything less.