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How Will a DUI Affect My Divorce in Pennsylvania?

Published: Feb 27, 2019 in Divorce, Family Law, Legal Blog

Written by Anthony Piccirilli

Driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious offense in Pennsylvania. If you’ve been charged with a DUI and you are going through the divorce process, you may be wondering how your divorce will be affected. The reality is that a DUI may significantly impact your situation, especially if you have children and child custody is involved.

If you have been arrested for a DUI and would like to know how it may affect your Pennsylvania divorce, it is in your best interest to consult a highly skilled Pittsburgh divorce lawyer at Pittsburgh Divorce & Family Law, LLC. Attorney Anthony Piccirilli will evaluate your case and educate you on your legal options. To schedule a consultation of your case, contact us today at (412) 471-5100.

A DUI’s Impact on Child Custody

If you file a child custody case during your Pennsylvania divorce, you must disclose your criminal history on a special form. This form will list certain crimes, including a DUI, which you’ll be required to check if you were convicted.

If your DUI conviction occurred 15 years ago before your child was born, and you’ve had a clean record since, the DUI may not be as concerning to a Pennsylvania family judge. However, if your DUI conviction was a more recent occurrence, or your child was in the car at the time of the offense, the judge will determine whether you pose a danger to your son or daughter. If they believe that you do, you may not be awarded custody or the type of custody you desire.

In addition, a judge may consider how many DUI offenses exist on your record. If your DUI was not just a one-time mistake, a judge might argue that your history of drinking and driving does not put you in a position to provide your child with the love and safety they deserve. Also, if you lose your driving privileges because of your DUI, you may not be able to spend as much time with your child, even if you are granted shared custody.

While a DUI conviction does not automatically mean that you have no chance of custody rights, understand that it is taken very seriously by Pennsylvania courts.

A DUI’s Impact on Finances

It’s no secret that divorce proceedings can be expensive. If you are convicted of a DUI, you may have to pay hefty fines divorce costs. This can be stressful, especially if you and your spouse have already split finances.

Your DUI conviction can also take you out of work so that you can go to DUI hearings and divorce proceedings. If finances are already tight and you need the money, this can add to the financial stress.

A DUI’s Impact on Emotions

Going through the divorce process can be very emotional for your entire family. If you’re convicted of a DUI during this process, your soon-to-be ex may become more aggressive toward you and use your DUI as a way to show that the divorce was your fault, or you are unfit to care for your child. You may also find that your child, friends, and others in your social network begin to look down upon you and treat you poorly – even if the DUI was a one-time mistake.

Contact a Pittsburgh Divorce Lawyer for Help

Divorce is stressful enough on its own. Add a DUI to the equation, and things can get complicated very quickly. An experienced divorce lawyer at Pittsburgh Divorce & Family Law, LLC can help you navigate your case, and fight for you to obtain the best possible outcome. Call our firm today at (412) 471-5100, or reach out online to schedule a consultation of your case.