After a divorce, you naturally want to ensure that you remain part of your child’s life, so it’s important that you do everything possible to stay eligible for child custody. Some mistakes may have a bigger impact on that eligibility than others, such as getting a DUI. However, it’s a complicated decision-making process in which the DUI would not play the only role. As you work with a divorce attorney to figure it out, you may appreciate the following information.
Why Does a DUI Affect Child Custody?
Since alcohol consumption isn’t usually tied to making important decisions about your child’s education, medical care, extracurricular activities, cultural and religious upbringing, etc., a DUI would probably have little to no bearing on legal child custody. That is, you would still have a say in how your child is raised and the quality of life they enjoy.
However, physical custody is another matter. A DUI may suggest a lack of self-control and wise judgment with regard to alcohol, so it could be argued in court that you’re likely to neglect your child in favor of drinking. It could also indicate that you may attempt to drive your child while drunk. Also, since a DUI often results in having your license suspended, you’d be unable to transport your child wherever they need to go, at least temporarily.
Physical child custody focuses first and foremost on the physical and emotional well-being of your child. Anything that casts doubt on your ability to care for them at home can be used against you. Nevertheless, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll lose it.
How Can You Prevent It from Being a Deal-Breaker?
With regard to child custody, your DUI will be considered in context. It’s unlikely to significantly affect your eligibility if your criminal record is otherwise clean and you generally have a reputation for being responsible, and free of drug or alcohol abuse. It’s possible that a judge will require you to get treatment or counseling, and you would need to cooperate with any other terms established in your sentencing.
In any case, with the help of an attorney or a mediator, you can still work closely with your ex-spouse to figure out the best co-parenting and child custody solutions despite your DUI. Ideally, you will both have the child’s best interests in mind, and often, that includes having a relationship with you.
For professional assistance navigating the complex legal matters surrounding child custody in the context of your DUI, contact Kevin R. Bryant Attorney at Law in Crossville, TN. With nearly two decades of experience in family and criminal law, he’ll dedicate personalized attention to your case and strive for the outcome you need. Since divorce can be stressful even after the settlement is over, he’ll gladly develop a long-term professional relationship to keep fighting on your side. To schedule a consultation, call his office today at (931) 787-1004 or message him online.