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Will a DUI affect your divorce?

On Behalf of | May 3, 2024 | Divorce |

You’re going through a divorce, and it’s been difficult. You decide to go out with some of your friends and get a drink while you talk about the process. Maybe you just need to vent. Unfortunately, on the way home, you get pulled over and arrested on allegations of impaired driving.

You already know that you are facing potential fines, time behind bars, a licensed suspension and other such ramifications. But what about your divorce? Is a DUI conviction going to affect how the divorce plays out?

It may impact child custody decisions

A DUI won’t fundamentally change the divorce case, but it may have some impact on how the court decides to divide child custody between you and your ex, if you are parents. After all, one of the factors that the court considers is “evidence of parental substance abuse.” If this is just your first DUI, it may not be evidence of a pattern of abuse. But if you have multiple charges on your record, then your ex may argue that the substance abuse means it’s not safe for you to be with the child.

The specific circumstances of the DUI can also play a role. In the example above, you’re just driving by yourself. But what if you had the children in the car with you? This is an aggravating factor in DUI cases, as drunk driving with a minor in the vehicle is seen as much more serious. Since the court is considering “the safety of the child”, this could also be an argument for revoking custody rights.

This doesn’t mean that you can’t get custody if you have a DUI. But it means that your situation is complex and you need to know exactly what options you have.