January 31, 2023
Driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) can have wide-ranging effects on your life, including on an ongoing divorce case. While a person might not be thinking about their divorce at the time of a DUI arrest, an arrest and conviction for a DUI can have a substantial impact on a divorce case. What kinds of effects can a DUI ultimately have on an ongoing divorce? Our Illinois divorce lawyers can say more.
First, even an arrest for a DUI, and the need to go to court and find a defense lawyer to handle a DUI case, can make the stress surrounding a divorce even more pronounced. A conviction for a DUI usually brings a significant amount of additional stress to a person’s life, especially when they are considering the consequences of a DUI conviction and having a criminal record. In short, a DUI arrest or conviction makes the high-stress circumstances of divorce even more stressful.
A DUI can also have serious financial consequences. A person may need to spend a significant amount of money on a defense attorney and may be required to pay fines in the event of a DUI conviction. These costs can cut into separate assets, and they could even impact the distribution of marital property depending upon the circumstances.
A conviction for a DUI can, in some cases, result in jail time. If a parent is required to serve time in jail, they cannot exercise certain parental responsibilities. In addition to the possibility of receiving a sentence that includes jail time and being unable to exercise parental responsibilities, a DUI could affect the way the court allocates parental responsibilities. Under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), a court can restrict parenting time if it has concerns about the child’s safety or well-being concerning one of the parents. More specifically, the IMDMA says:
“If the court finds by a preponderance of the evidence that a parent engaged in any conduct that seriously endangered the child’s mental, moral, or physical health or that significantly impaired the child’s emotional development, the court shall enter orders as necessary to protect the child.”
Such orders could involve a restriction on parental responsibilities. While a first-time DUI that does not involve the child may not result in parental responsibilities being constricted, a subsequent DUI, or a DUI with the child in the vehicle, could result in a significant restriction.
Do you have questions about how a DUI can impact an ongoing divorce in Illinois? Whether you are concerned about a DUI for which you were recently arrested or convicted, or if you have fears about your ex having child custody following a DUI, our firm can help. An experienced Illinois divorce lawyer at the Women’s Divorce & Family Law Group can evaluate your case and can provide you with answers to your questions. Contact Women’s Divorce & Family Law Group to learn more about how DUIs can impact divorce cases and how our firm can help you.