Will a DUI Hurt My Child Custody Case?

Posted by Jonathan Jerkins | Feb 22, 2018 | 0 Comments

Fighting for child custody can be one of the most difficult parts of a separation or divorce. Especially in the case of a contested divorce, the other parent may bring up incidents from your past, exaggerate negative events, or even lie about how you treat your own child. While dealing with the stress of child custody and divorce, you have to remain on your best behavior, or the court may interpret any negative actions as a reason to reduce the chances of getting custody of your kids.

A drunk driving arrest from your past can harm your child custody case. However, a recent DUI during your divorce and child custody dispute can be much more harmful, especially if your kids were in the car.

Any criminal arrest and substance abuse problems are negative factors that the court may consider in your child custody case. Alcohol or drug-related driving arrests can show poor judgment and reckless behavior. In a child custody case, the court is evaluating what is in the best interests of the child, with a focus on the child's safety.

The impact of a DUI may depend on a number of factors, including:

  • How long ago was the DUI arrest or conviction?
  • Are there are other indicators of substance abuse?
  • How high was your blood alcohol level?
  • Were there children in the car at the time?
  • Were you under the influence of drugs?

The most serious drunk driving event would involve a DUI arrest while the children were in the car. Not only is this a crime in North Carolina, it will severely impact your child custody case. Driving while intoxicated with children in the vehicle is viewed as a threat to the safety and well-being of the children.

Even if the children were not involved in an impaired driving arrest, the more recent the DUI, the more harmful it can be to your case. The stress of a divorce can lead many people to drink more than they normally would. It only takes one drink too many to lead to a DUI arrest. Even if no one was injured and the driver was just above the legal limit, the court will view a recent DUI arrest as a red flag when deciding child custody.

A DUI arrest from your past will generally not be a deal breaker in your child custody case. The more years that have passed without any other alcohol or substance abuse issues, the less harmful it will be for your case. A single drunk driving arrest from your college days is more understandable and should not have a significant bearing on whether you are a responsible and caring parent 10 or 20 years later.

Jerkins Family Law

If you have a drunk driving conviction in your past, if you've hidden a DUI from your spouse, or you get arrested while you are in divorce proceedings, please do not hesitate to call Jerkins Family Law for assistance. We are committed to providing the passionate representation you and your family need. We can help make sure an isolated event does not define who you are as a parent during a contested child custody dispute. Visit our dedicated child custody page and contact us today so we can guide you to a better solution.

About the Author

Jonathan Jerkins

Jonathan "Jay" Jerkins, a native of Raleigh, North Carolina, intentionally focuses his practice on all aspects of North Carolina family law litigation and negotiations. Jay was admitted to the practice of law in North Carolina in 2014.


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