Fighting for custody of the children is a complex process in any case. In the event that one parent has a DUI, though, the custody case becomes even more complicated. The DUI affects everything from visitation rights to whether one parent is granted sole custody, so it’s important for a parent with a DUI to enlist a good family law attorney to navigate the complexities that a DUI conviction adds to a custody case.
Time Since DUI Plays a Role in Custody
A DUI in the distant past – say, 10 years ago with nothing since then – may raise red flags during a custody case, but, with the right lawyer, this shouldn’t severely impact the outcome of the case. A more recent DUI, though, or a series of DUI’s, is more difficult to overcome. In Texas, for example, a DUI may result in jail time of 1 month to 1 year on a second offense, and a third offense may result in anywhere from 2 to 10 years in state prison. Serving jail time for a DUI makes a huge impact on a custody case. The time since the last DUI – and the total number of DUIs – are very important details.
The Non-DUI Spouse May Seek Sole Custody
In many cases where the DUI was recent or even semi-recent, the non-DUI spouse seeks sole custody of any children. If the non-DUI spouse is granted sole custody, that individual has the autonomous right to make medical decisions, decisions about education, and other important decisions affecting the children. For the non-custodial parent, not to have a say in these decisions can be extremely frustrating and traumatic. It’s vital for anyone with a DUI on record to enlist the aid of a good family law attorney in San Antonio to best ensure the non-DUI spouse isn’t awarded sole custody.
Logistical Challenges of a DUI in a Custody Case
If a parent has a DUI and has a suspended license, the judge may be more likely to grant sole custody to the non-DUI parent simply because the DUI parent has no way to transport the child. In some cases, a parent with a suspended license may not even be granted visitation rights because it’s presumed that the individual has no safe way to provide transportation. A suspended license caused by a DUI can have huge logistical repercussions on a custody case.
Ultimately, a DUI or DWI adds multiple layers of complexity to a custody case. Many factors impact how the DUI will affect a custody dispute, so it’s vital to work with an experienced San Antonio family law attorney to mitigate the impact of a DUI on your custody case.