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Will a DUI hurt your child custody case?

If you are going through a bitter divorce and child custody battle, you undoubtedly also are dealing with a great deal of stress. While there certainly are healthier ways to cope with stress than drinking alcohol, you may have increased the number of drinks you consume. Still, according to the Cleveland Clinic, alcohol can amplify the negative effects of stress.

Even worse, if you are drinking too much, you might eventually drive under the influence of alcohol. While DUI charges are nothing to take lightly, you have an additional concern to worry about. Specifically, a DUI conviction can harm your chances of receiving the child custody outcome you want.

Physical versus legal custody

Whether you are fighting for sole physical custody or a joint physical custody arrangement, your desired parenting time must be in the best interests of your children. If you have an alcohol addiction, a judge may believe that giving you physical custody is not likely to be good for your kids. A DUI conviction also may cause a judge to question your decision-making capabilities.

Legal custody may be a different matter, though. Indeed, simply having a DUI conviction on your record is not likely to interfere with your rights to make legal, medical, cultural or religious decisions for your children.

Your legal options

If it appears a DUI conviction is going to damage your child custody case, you probably have some options for repairing the damage. First, you can successfully complete all conditions of your criminal case, such as alcohol education or community service.

Putting some protections for your kids, like random alcohol screenings, into your parenting plan also may be beneficial. Ultimately, though, because a DUI conviction is apt to complicate your child custody case, it is critical to discuss your DUI with your family lawyer immediately.