Can Someone On Parole Get Custody? (7 Tips From A Lawyer)

Many parolees find themselves navigating the difficulties of trying to regain custody and visitation with their children. In many cases, they may have lost custody while serving time for their crime.  

In general, if you are on parole, you may still have parental rights, which means that you have the legal right to seek custody of your child. 

In this article, we’ll explore the topic of parole and child custody and provide information and resources for those trying to navigate this complex and often overwhelming process. 

Factors that May Affect Custody Decisions for Parolees

When determining custody for individuals on parole, several factors may come into play. These can include:

Tip 1. The Nature of the Offense

The nature of the offense committed by a parolee can significantly impact their ability to obtain child custody. When a court is considering custody arrangements, one of the primary concerns is the safety and well-being of the child.

If the parolee’s offense is related to child abuse, neglect, or endangerment, the court will likely view them as a potential risk to the child’s safety and well-being. In such cases, the court may hesitate to grant the parolee custody.

Similarly, if the offense is related to violence or other criminal activities that could pose a risk to the child, the court may also view the parolee as a potential risk to the child’s safety and well-being.

However, having committed an offense does not necessarily mean that a parolee cannot obtain custody. The court will consider various factors when making a custody determination, including the parolee’s behavior and actions since their release from prison.

Tip 2. Length of Time on Parole

The length of time that you have been on parole may also affect your chances of obtaining custody of your child. If you have only been out of prison and on parole for a short period, it may be challenging to convince a judge that you are ready to take on parenting responsibilities.

Tip 3. Compliance with Parole Conditions

If you have complied with the conditions of your parole and have not violated any terms, it may work in your favor when seeking custody of your child. 

On the other hand, if you have violated the terms of your parole, it may be challenging to convince a judge that you can be a responsible parent.

Tip 4. Relationship with the Child

Your relationship with your child is another critical factor when deciding whether you can get custody. Having a strong bond with your child and providing a safe and stable home may increase your chances of obtaining custody.

Tip 5. The Other Parent’s Views

The views of the other parent also play a role in custody decisions. If the other parent opposes you having custody, obtaining custody of your child may be more challenging. On the other hand, if the other parent supports your efforts, it could work in your favor.

Tip 6. The Stability and Safety of The Individual’s Living Situation

When a parolee is seeking custody of a child, the court will consider various factors, including the individual’s living arrangements and their ability to provide a safe and stable environment for the child.

If a parolee’s living situation is deemed unsafe or unstable, this can be a significant obstacle to obtaining custody. For example, if the individual lives in a high-crime area or in a home with other individuals with criminal histories, this could raise concerns about the child’s safety and well-being.

On the other hand, if a parolee has a stable and safe living situation, this can work in their favor when seeking custody. This would include having a stable job, living in a safe neighborhood, and having a supportive network of family and friends who can provide assistance and support.

Tip 7. The Individual’s History of Substance Abuse or Other Issues That May Impact Their Ability to Care For a Child

A parolee’s ability to obtain child custody can be significantly impacted by their history of substance abuse or other issues that may affect their ability to care for a child. 

The court’s primary concern is the child’s safety and well-being. A history of drug addiction or other issues may raise concerns about the parolee’s ability to provide a stable and safe environment. 

The court may require drug testing or rehabilitation before granting custody. However, if the parolee has taken steps to address their issues, such as completing a rehabilitation program, they may still have a chance to obtain custody.

Steps to Take if You Want to Obtain Custody

If you are on parole and want to obtain custody of your child, here are some steps you can take:

1. Consult with a Lawyer

The first step is to consult with a lawyer with family law experience. They can guide you through the legal process and help you understand your rights and options.

2. Inform Your Parole Officer

For parole individuals seeking custody, their parole officer will likely play a significant role in the process. 

The parole officer is responsible for ensuring that the individual complies with the terms of their parole and may be called upon to provide information or recommendations to the court regarding custody.

In some cases, the parole officer may support the individual’s efforts to regain custody and may be willing to provide positive feedback to the court. 

However, in other cases, the parole officer may be concerned about the individual’s ability to provide a safe and stable environment for their children and may recommend against granting custody.

It’s vital for parolees seeking custody to maintain open and honest communication with their parole officers and to work together to address any concerns that may arise.

3. Establish a Stable Home Environment

To convince a judge that you can be a responsible parent, you must establish a stable home environment for your child. This may include finding suitable housing and ensuring your child’s needs are met.

4. Attend Parenting Classes

Attending parenting classes can also help you demonstrate to the court that you are committed to being a responsible parent.

5. Obtain a Favorable Custody Evaluation

A custody evaluation is an assessment conducted by a mental health expert to determine what type of custody arrangement would be in the best interest of the child. If you can obtain a favorable custody evaluation, it can increase your chances of getting custody.

6. Be Prepared for Court

You must be prepared if you are going to court to seek custody. This includes gathering the necessary documentation, such as proof of stable employment, proof of housing, and any relevant medical records.

Legal Resources and Assistance for Parolees Seeking Custody

Navigating the legal system can be challenging for anyone, but it can be particularly difficult for individuals on parole. 

Fortunately, there are several resources and organizations that can provide assistance and support to those who are seeking custody.

Legal aid organizations can provide free or low-cost legal services to individuals who cannot afford an attorney. These organizations can help parolees understand their legal rights and options and can provide representation in court.

Family and child services agencies can also provide valuable support and resources to individuals seeking custody. These agencies can provide information about parenting classes, counseling services, and other resources to help parolees build strong relationships with their children.


Q. Can a parolee get custody of their child? 

Yes, a parolee can get custody of their child, but they may face additional challenges and obstacles.

Q. Can a parolee with a violent criminal history regain custody of their child? 

It depends on the specific circumstances of the case. While a violent criminal history will be a factor that is considered when determining custody, it is not necessarily disqualifying.

Q. Can a parolee seek custody of their child if they live in a halfway house or other supervised living arrangements? 

Yes, it is possible for a parolee to seek custody of their child while living in a halfway house or other supervised living arrangement. However, they must demonstrate that they have a stable and safe living situation for their child.

Q. Can I still visit my child if I am on parole?

A: Yes, you can still visit your child if you are on parole, but the terms of your parole may restrict the frequency and duration of your visits.

Q: What is the best way to increase my chances of obtaining custody?

A: The best way to increase your chances of obtaining custody is to demonstrate that you are a responsible and capable parent who can provide your child with a safe and stable home.


Regaining custody as a parolee can be complex and challenging, but it’s important to remember that it is possible. By staying focused on your goals, seeking out support and resources, and building a solid case that demonstrates your ability to provide a safe and stable environment for your child, you can work towards regaining custody and rebuilding your relationship with your child.

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Tim McDuffey is a practicing attorney in the State of Missouri. Tim is a licensed member of the Missouri Bar and Missouri Bar Association.

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