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Is mother's past embezzlement conviction grounds to lose custody?

Your Question:
I currently share joint custody with my ex-husband. However, he is very controlling. We have been divorced for 7 years and we have had the same visitation for 7 years. My daughter (who is 11) wants to live with me full time. She asked her father if there was a paper she could sign that stated she could choose where she lived. He said there was but that it did not apply to her and her brother. My daughter asked me about it and she wants to live with me full time and not just part time. She is willing to sign the paper. Her dad told her that if she were to sign that I would lose and she would never see her mom again. Here are my main questions......I have a criminal record. I was on deffered adjudification for embezzlement. My ex-husband has been aware of this. It happened before we were ever divorced. Could he use that against me and me lose total custody of my kids? Also, if I were to lose would I lose the custody I have now?! I have re-paid all my fees and restitution and I only have 2 more years probation but all my conditions are met.

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My Answer:

First, I don't think the crime you describe is relevant to a child custody decision made today. If you're not in danger of being imprisoned, if it's not having an impact on your ability to be a parent, it's not relevant.

If OJ Simpson can kill his ex-wife (per a civil court's finding) and retain custody of his kids, a one-time embezzler doesn't face much risk of losing hers.

The bigger concern I have is why the parents are allowing an 11 year old child to feel that she is in control of the parenting plan.

If you have discussed it with your daughter, and if she is continuing to press the matter, it seems as though you are encouraging her to debate it with her father. Whether you're doing it intentionally or not intentionally, that's your involvement in this.

There is no place in child custody litigation for an 11 year old to be feeling empowered to decide what is best for her. There are two parents who currently have court orders on what is best for the child.

An eleven year old child may decide that the house with total freedom, video games, late nights, and no discipline is best for her. A child is simply not old enough to sign a paper to determine what parenting plan is best.

My suggestion to you is to quit making her your ally in this fight with your ex-husband. Let her be a kid, and YOU be the grown-up.

I also suggest you get the books "Mom's House, Dad's House" and "Divorce Poison". I think they'll both have much helpful guidance for you in your situation.

Good luck.


This website gives common sense advice that is not intended to act as legal guidance nor psychological guidance. The author is neither an attorney nor licensed psychologist. For specific legal guidance or specific psychological guidance, consult with a licensed professional.

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