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Tennessee General Law Blog

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Can a DUI Charge Impact My Divorce?

If you have been charged with a crime, it is important to know that criminal charges could impact your civil divorce case. Call a skilled family law attorney to learn more.

If you are getting a divorce in Manchester, Tennessee, you may not be thinking about how a DUI charge or another criminal offense could have an impact on your divorce case. However, failing to consider the ramifications of a conviction on your civil suit might cost you. At the law offices of Burch, Morrison, & Stewart, our Manchester family law attorneys can help you to effectively navigate your divorce case. Here is what you need to know about the impact of a DUI charge on your legal separation.

Child Custody

For many parents who are getting a divorce, concerns about child custody are especially pressing. Unfortunately, if you have a DUI conviction on your record, you can be almost positive that this is something that your spouse will use against you in a child custody proceeding, and which will almost surely impact a court’s opinion of you. Because a child custody decision must be made by considering the “best interests of the child,” a DUI ticket may highlight to the court that you are irresponsible, and that a child spending time with you could even be dangerous.

Division of Property

In Tennessee, a court that is tasked with dividing a couple’s property, debts, and assets at the time of a divorce must do so in accordance with the state’s equitable distribution laws. While the court will consider many factors, if you incurred your DUI charge at the time that you were married but seeking a divorce (or perhaps even before you or your spouse filed for divorce), the court may consider these related charges, fines, and debts as separate property, and not hold your spouse liable for them. What is more, the court may even find that you have spent marital assets (in paying for your DUI-related fees) recklessly, and issue a judgment that is more favorable to your spouse in response.

Overall Court Opinion of You

Note that when you and your spouse are divorcing, you maintain the right to make decisions about issues in your divorce (child custody and support, alimony/spousal support, division of property, etc.) outside of court; you do not have to turn to a judge unless you and your spouse are unable to reach a determination on your own. This means that in some cases, a DUI could have little effect on your divorce (other than perhaps being an added financial and legal stress). If you do need to go to court, though, a DUI could negatively affect a court’s opinion of you.

How Our Law Firm can Help

Our Manchester, Tennessee family law attorneys can help you to understand how courts make decisions in divorce in our state, as well as what you can do to protect your best interests. To schedule a consultation, call our law firm directly today or send us a message at your convenience.

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