Going through a divorce is already an extremely challenging and overwhelming life change. The last thing you need is something else impacting your mental, physical, or financial health. Unfortunately, that is precisely what may happen when you are also dealing with charges for driving under the influence (DUI) while in the middle of your divorce proceedings. Here are six ways that a DUI charge may impact your divorce.
How a DUI Charge Can Impact Your Divorce
1. Loss of Driving Privileges
One of the most challenging issues you may face after your DUI charge is the loss of driving privileges. Losing your license, even temporarily, will further complicate all aspects of your divorce. For example, it can make it more challenging for you to get to and from court appointments, schedule meetings with your lawyers to discuss your rights, or make it harder for you to make custody or visitation appointments to spend time with your children.
2. Loss of Income
Whether or not you lose your driving privileges, there is a good chance you will experience disruptions in your regular work schedule due to your DUI charge. Court appearances are often required for both divorce and DUI cases, so you may need to take more time off from your job than you initially expected. When dividing funds with your spouse, your DUI costs may be considered a separate expense that your spouse is not responsible for, causing you to receive a smaller portion than you originally planned.
3. Child Custody
Courts generally do not view parents with a perceived substance abuse problem positively; this can make custody disputes more difficult, especially if your children are too young to take care of themselves. If your child was present when you received your DUI charge, the courts might even view this as evidence of child abuse. Your spouse may use these charges to improve their odds of getting more custody of your children or making unfavorable changes to your visitation rights. It is essential to contact a Seattle DUI attorney as quickly as possible after your arrest to give yourself a fighting chance at maintaining a good custody agreement with your spouse.
4. Court Opinion
If your divorce requires court involvement for the division of assets, a DUI can negatively impact their opinion and complicate proceedings. In some cases, if they believe that your shared assets have been used irresponsibly to pay for your DUI charge or related fees, this may also cause them to issue a judgment that is more favorable to your spouse. Your DUI proceedings can also make it more challenging to schedule appointments with your divorce attorney, make it to court appointments, and meet other commitments that could improve the court’s opinion of you.
5. Other Financial Difficulties
The financial burden of a DUI charge can be extensive, especially when added to the fees already associated with a divorce. When coupled with the potential loss of income, it can become more difficult for you to pay for damages, penalties, court fees, and costs associated with hiring a DUI attorney, which can heavily impact your finances. You may also see a significant increase in insurance costs for several years after the incident, especially if there were property damages or injuries.
6. Additional Stress
Divorce proceedings are already an extremely trying experience, but the added hurdle of dealing with your DUI charges can influence your physical and mental health. Stress can result in increased strain or negative interactions with friends and family. This can also complicate matters related to child custody or make it difficult to focus on work. You may also find that this stress impacts your ability to make healthy decisions when it comes to maintaining relationships or handling finances.