Child Custody and DUI: Can this Affect my Divorce Settlement?

Any parent who has gone through a divorce knows that child custody is one of the most contentious issues in the entire process of dissolving a marriage. Deciding with whom the child will live daily can create heated arguments more than discussions over dividing property.

During the divorce process, both spouses attempt to portray themselves as the most responsible parent in an attempt to persuade the judge to award custody of the child to them. Unfortunately, if you are arrested and charged with a DUI, you have just given your spouse ammunition to use against you in court. If you really want to have custody of your child, you will need all the help you can get, which is why you should consider hiring an experienced DUI attorney.

How a DUI attorney can Help


If you do not have legal representation, your request for child custody could be denied. Your spouse’s attorney can argue that a DUI charge would show that you are irresponsible and have a problem handling alcohol, even if nothing could be further from the truth.

It is important to hire a local and knowledgeable attorney with a solid history of representation in DUI cases. Hire an attorney local to where the DUI charge was given, who will be equipped to represent your case due to their knowledge of all local and state laws to where the charges were given. For example, if your DUI was received when traveling for business in Philadelphia, retaining a Philadelphia DUI attorney would be the ideal choice for representation for your case.

A DUI attorney will meet with you to discuss what led up to your arrest. For instance, you may have been feeling the strain from your relationship, so you decided to have a drink to relieve the pressure. An attorney could explain your plight to the court so you will not be painted as a person who abuses alcohol.

What can a DUI Attorney do for me?


Your attorney will want to investigate the circumstances surrounding your arrest. For instance, did the police officer read you your Miranda rights? Did you say anything that can be used against you in court? Are the results of your breathalyzer test accurate?

If your attorney questions the actions of the police or whether your blood alcohol content level was over the legal limit, your attorney can file motions to challenge police misconduct or challenge the evidence on which your charge was based.

In the meantime, your attorney will work with you to create a defense for your DUI case, all the while keeping your child custody case in the forefront. The goal is to show that you are a responsible adult and a caring parent who happened to make a mistake.

If you are a repeat offender, your attorney may recommend that you enter alcohol treatment or counseling prior to going to court. This shows responsibility and that you are willing to “turn over a new leaf” and do whatever it takes to gain custody of your child.

You may want to plead guilty due to the stress of the case and to get the case over with, but your DUI attorney will advise against it because you may not have to plea to the original charge. Your attorney will work with the prosecuting attorney to determine if the DUI charge can be reduced to a lesser charge, such as reckless driving, or even dismissed. Your attorney cannot guarantee that your case will be dismissed, but will do as much as possible to make this a reality.

Remember that a DUI attorney will help to resolve your case in a way that is most favorable to you. Then, you can turn your full attention to finalizing your divorce and getting custody of your child.

Legal writer Lisa Coleman encourages a person not to give up if charged with DUI, but to hire an attorney to help fight the charges and problems that will arise. Law Offices of Steven E. Kellis is a Philadelphia DUI attorney firm experienced and equipped to represent any client charged with DUI, and defend them in all the legalities that ensue.

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