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Guide to Understanding DUI and Divorce (Part 2: Child Custody)

7/10/2018

criminal law

In the last post, we discussed some of the many ways that DUI criminal charges can affect divorce proceedings. However, when children are involved, the entire process can change and be further impacted by your DUI. Here's part two of our guide that will address some of the ways that a DUI charge can affect child custody proceedings.

Could Decrease Chances of Success

First, it's important to know that your chances of success could be affected, depending on the type of child custody you're seeking. This is certainly the case when it comes to physical child custody: those who have been convicted of a DUI may be less likely to receive physical custody because the court will perceive the parent as someone who prefers drinking and socializing over ensuring the wellbeing of their child. Furthermore, the court could make a case that your children will be at risk when under your supervision. Unfortunately, this can be true even if you have only been charged, not convicted, of driving while intoxicated.

Every two minutes, a person is injured in a drunk driving crash, and most family court judges take these crimes very seriously. However, a single DUI arrest doesn't necessarily spell doom for your child custody case. If the DUI is your first offense, it's unlikely to affect the court's decision. It's true that the courts perceive DUI convictions negatively, but it doesn't always prove that a parent's decision-making abilities are permanently impaired. These decisions are related to education, culture, religion, and more, and an isolated DUI incident won't always affect these decisions. Of course, if you have multiple convictions, this may not be the case. The best step you can take is to get a team of knowledgeable criminal lawyers on your side.

Spouse Could Exacerbate Issues

There's no denying that many divorces can get nasty. Many spouses will do all they can to increase their likelihood of getting custody of their children or gaining other financial assets. This means that your spouse could make a bigger deal out of your DUI case than the court initially perceived, decreasing your chances of success. Even if your spouse doesn't feel that way, any competent divorce lawyer will.

"Although your spouse may want to make an issue of your DUI case to have the case ruled in their favor, the court will also look into your past...Be sure to have aggressive and experienced defense lawyers on your team. Remember your spouse does not want to lose that custody battle either," writes Daljit Rakkar on Divorced Moms.

The bottom line is that there's no saying for certain how a DUI will affect your divorce and child custody proceedings. The best step you can take is to explore your criminal defense options thoroughly and choose a team of criminal lawyers that have your best interests in mind. Likewise, consult your legal representatives on what you can do to protect yourself in upcoming custody proceedings.

For more information about seeking criminal lawyers and other legal representatives following a DUI, contact Rhett Bernstein.