Will My DUI Conviction Negatively Affect My Divorce?
It could. Pennsylvania takes DUI very seriously and, as a result, imposes severe penalties, such as time in jail and a license suspension. However, there might be repercussions in a divorce case as well. Of course, every case is different. You should meet with a Media, Pennsylvania divorce lawyer to analyze how a DUI could affect your case.
DUI and Child Custody
Child custody does not have to be a contentious issue. Instead, parents can come up with a custody arrangement that works for everyone. But if you expect a custody fight, then your DUI could come into play.
For one thing, you must disclose your criminal convictions in your paperwork, including DUIs. If you try to hide your conviction and the other side tells the judge, you will be in serious trouble.
Judges are empowered to look at anything that seems relevant when determining custody, with the child’s best interests acting as the touchstone. To this end, judges certainly do look at the criminal history of each parent along with any evidence of drug or alcohol abuse.
If your DUI was a long time ago, before your child was born, then it might not be an issue so long as you have kept your nose clean since then. If the DUI is more recent, or if you have multiple recent DUIs, then a judge might hold them against you.
Also, if you were caught driving while impaired with your child in the vehicle with you, then you look like a dangerous parent. A judge is unlikely to award custody if they perceive you can’t be trusted to take care of a child. Remember to disclose any criminal convictions to your attorney so she can try to take the “sting” out of them in court.
A New Partner’s DUI & Child Custody
You also need to pay attention to whether a new romantic partner has a DUI conviction. A judge will need to consider the criminal background and drug or alcohol addictions of anyone living in your household.
Your new boyfriend? Yes, a judge will want to know his history of drug or alcohol abuse. If there is a DUI in there, you need to be prepared for the judge’s questions because this fact could definitely impact child custody.
DUI and Finances during Divorce
A DUI shouldn’t matter when dividing a couple’s marital property. However, it might come into play if you drunkenly crashed the family vehicle and totaled it. A judge might decide that you wasted the asset by engaging in such reckless behavior, which means you could get slightly less marital property than you otherwise would have been entitled to.
A DUI is often an impediment to our clients getting back on their feet once the divorce has gone through. Without a license, it is much harder for a person to get to work, which can impede their ability to earn money. As a result, paying child support or spousal support could be that much harder.
Speak to a Divorce Lawyer in Delaware County
Preparing for a child custody dispute takes time. Your attorney needs to know everything that could negatively impact your case so that he or she can be properly prepared.
Contact Barbara Flum Stein & Associates today. Our Media divorce lawyers have helped many men and women go through divorce, and we offer a free consultation so you can learn more.