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Can a DUI affect your custody rights?

On Behalf of | Jun 10, 2024 | Divorce

When determining how to divide custody between two parents in a divorce, the court will look at numerous factors. Their goal is to find a safe and stable living situation for the child. As such, they may look at things like past criminal convictions.

In this sense, a DUI can affect your child custody rights. It could affect your legal custody rights, which refers to your ability to make important decisions for the child. It could also affect physical custody, which is when the child lives with you. But each case is unique and has to be considered on its own merits.

What would make a difference?

What the court is really looking for is if your behavior would put the child in danger. That can be quite different depending on the unique circumstances of your arrest.

For example, perhaps you are 32 years old and you got a DUI when you were 22. You didn’t have any children, it was a decade ago, you served your time and you haven’t had any other encounters with the law. The court may determine that you are not a danger to the child because this behavior is in the past.

On the other hand, if you were arrested on DUI charges six months ago, and you had the child in the car with you while you were driving under the influence, then the court may determine that it wouldn’t be safe for you to have physical custody. You may still get legal custody, but the child may live with your ex.

For this reason, it’s very important to understand all of your legal options during a divorce case or a custody dispute.


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