Divorce cases are difficult proceedings. Almost any factor can affect the court’s decisions, especially about child custody. A DUI is almost certain to be brought into such a case. The attorneys at Ciccarelli can help navigate the impact of some difficult things in your past during a divorce case, including a DUI history.
How Can a DUI Impact My Child Custody Case?
Judges will take special precaution in divorce proceedings when they are deciding child custody. If you have a DUI, this could easily be a large factor. Even if it was a long time ago, a DUI could point to a higher likelihood of a drinking problem. The court would be likely to see this as a danger to the child and use it as a significant point against you, as the court may consider you at risk for a relapse.
It is likely that the court will have a social worker investigate your relationship with alcohol if you have a DUI on your record. The investigator will want to speak with your family as well. This will begin with an interview with you and your partner and then move on to the other family members living in your house.
They will look at the daily routines of everyone in the family. This includes everyone’s schedules and a general analysis of any regular habits of the people in your household. The social worker is even allowed to show up unannounced at your child’s school or your house to ask more questions or do an extra check.
It is also common for them to search through the house and your car for any evidence of alcohol or drugs. This could be anything from an empty can of beer to a receipt from a liquor store.
There are two types of child custody and each is affected differently by a DUI: legal custody and physical child custody.
Legal child custody gives you the right to contribute to major life decisions for your child, including religion, school, and medical choices. If that is what you are asking for, it is less likely that your DUI will have an intense effect. Even if you do have a drinking problem, it is seen as less of a factor in making life decisions regarding your child.
Physical child custody is having the child living with you. This is when the DUI could be especially damaging to your case. Any evidence of a drinking problem could imply to the court that you may not pay enough attention to the child or will not take proper care of the child. The courts may also be concerned that you would drive under the influence with the child in the car with you, endangering a life.
A DUI Is Not Automatic Loss of Your Child
Having a DUI does not mean that you automatically lose your child custody rights, though it is an issue that the court will take very seriously. The court will look at your whole past and that of your partner, and other factors that surface could possibly outweigh the impact of your DUI in the eyes of the court.
Contact a Divorce Attorney if You Have a DUI/DWI
If you have been charged with driving under the influence and are trying to gain custody of your child, you need a strong attorney on your side. Your case will be significantly more difficult because you will have to be more adamant in proving your merit. Ciccarelli has experience not only in divorce proceedings, but also in DUI defense cases. We have the combined knowledge that is necessary to prove to the court that you are still a capable parent. We have over 100 years of combined experience and our team has varied talents, so you will have access to extensive knowledge and guidance while you are working with us. Reach out to us today for a free consultation.