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Guide to Understanding DUI and Divorce (Part 1: Divorce Proceedings)


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When considering the long term consequences of a DUI conviction, many people think only in terms of the financial, professional, and social costs. A DUI conviction can cost $20,000 or more, not to mention the damage to your reputation and standing in the community. But on top of causing significant financial distress, a DUI can wreak havoc on many other aspects of a person's life, including their personal and family life.

This is especially true when it comes to divorce proceedings. It may sound surprising, but a DUI can affect divorce proceedings in a multitude of ways. Here's part one of our guide that will explore some of the many ways a DUI conviction can affect your divorce.

Emotional Stress
First and foremost, going through a divorce while dealing with DUI criminal charges can be overwhelming, to say the least. This goes for both you and your spouse, as well as your children and other close family members and friends. If your divorce was initiated first, your DUI case will just add multiple levels of stress, frustration, and legal costs to the ordeal. If the DUI occurred first, it could actually be the impetus for the official initiation of your divorce proceedings. Both events are very volatile, and when combined, they can truly become emotionally explosive.

Financial Stress
It's no secret that the legal fees associated with divorce and DUI can be excessive. Court costs associated with both events can really add up, and even when split between you and your spouse, they can increase tensions and add to your financial burden. Aside from the obvious costs, there are also potential hidden costs. You may lose out on money at work if you need to consistently take time off to attend court and meetings with legal representatives. An average drunk driver has driven drunk 80 times before the first arrest, but it only takes one incident to cause years worth of financial and emotional distress.

Adds Complexity
Finally, the simple fact of the matter is that going through two events as life-altering as divorce and DUI, especially at the same time, adds a level of complexity that could slow down the entire process. You'll most likely have to reallocate funds between the two events, and it's not uncommon for the courts to hold your conviction against you during your divorce proceedings. That's especially true if your divorce includes custody arrangements. Virtually every divorce lawyer will use a spouse's DUI conviction to their advantage.

Need Legal Representatives?
Ultimately, DUI affects divorce in more ways than you think. That's why it's always a good idea to consult a team of knowledgeable legal representatives to help you navigate your case as efficiently as possible. Keep an eye out for the next post, where we'll discuss some of the ways a DUI can affect child custody, and for more information about DUI lawyers in Clackmas County, contact Rhett Bernstein.