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DUI and Your Child Custody Battle

Statistically, about half of all marriages end in divorce. That being said, there are millions of children of divorce. Beyond those children, there are many more whose parents were never married, but that does not stop the parents from filing paternity actions and fighting over child custody.

Are you a parent who is in the midst of a child custody battle? If you had a recent arrest for driving under the influence, then you are likely concerned about how that DUI might impact your child custody case – a valid concern indeed.

A DUI is not good for your bank account, it’s not good for your auto insurance, it’s bad for your career, and it’s especially bad if you’re in the middle of a child custody battle.

Will a recent DUI ruin your chances of obtaining joint or sole physical custody of your child? It depends. It may or may not be a deal breaker.

If you’re on bad terms with your ex-spouse or partner, you can expect them to use your DUI against you in family court. However, the older the DUI, the less of an impact it will have on your case.

If this is your first DUI, your child was NOT in the vehicle at the time of your arrest, nobody else was injured or killed, and you attend AA classes and DUI School, there’s less of a chance of the judge holding the DUI against you. Essentially, if it was an “isolated” incident.

Do you have a history of DUI convictions?

On the other hand, if this is your second, third, or subsequent DUI in the last 10 years, or if your child was in the vehicle and you are being charged with child endangerment, or someone else was hurt, then it is likely that DUI will sway the judge’s decision about child custody.

If you’re merely seeking legal custody, which refers to “decision making” responsibilities, such as those regarding your child’s education, religious upbringing, medical treatment, and extracurricular activities, the DUI should not have any bearing on your case.

If parenting time or physical custody is what you are seeking, your ex will probably use the DUI as fuel against you. He or she might say that you have a drug or alcohol problem, or that you put socializing with your friends above your child-raising responsibilities.

Also, your ex will probably raise concerns over you drinking and driving with the children in the car.

If you are facing charges for a recent DUI arrest, it would serve you well to enroll in alcohol counseling, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, even if you don’t have a drinking problem.

The Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, Inc. recognizes how DUI can impact child custody cases. If you are a parent who is facing DUI charges, don’t hesitate to contact our office for a free case evaluation.