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The Impact of a DUI or DWI Charge on Your Texas Divorce

At the Lyttle Law Firm, one of the steps we take when handling Texas divorce cases is to get as much information from the client as possible. Aside from basic information such as your name, where you live, as well as the names and ages of your children, we also want to understand if you have any previous criminal charges that your spouse may use as leverage to put you in an unfavorable position during the divorce proceedings.

In other words, we want to know if you have any skeletons in the closet that could hurt your case. From our experience, one of the more common offenses that come up in a divorce is a DUI (Driving Under the Influence) or DWI (Driving While Impaired) arrest or conviction. But how exactly does this affect your divorce in Texas?

DUI / DWI Impact on Child Custody and Visitation

Being charged with a DUI or DWI can hurt your ability to establish that you can make decisions on behalf of your child. This is especially important in matters involving child custody and visitation, in which a judge will always consider what is in the best interest of the child.

And even if you were not convicted for a DUI/DWI, being arrested for one can still affect your divorce by creating a child custody issue the other spouse can use to question your ability to safely and responsibly parent your child. Your spouse may also argue that you are incapable of picking up and driving the children to school or having them stay overnight in an attempt to deny you visitation rights.

Given the serious consequences of a DUI/DWI charge in terms of child custody, it’s important work with an experienced divorce attorney to mitigate the impact of a DUI/DWI arrest or conviction on your parental rights.

Property Division

If you were the spouse arrested or convicted of a DUI/DWI, any legal proceedings that follow will obviously cost you money in fines and perhaps an ignition interlock device. Depending on your circumstances, you could be looking at thousands of dollars in legal expenses. And in a community property state like Texas, this might mean having to dip into your marital assets.

Your DUI/DWI arrest or conviction may add a layer of complexity to your divorce, particularly during property division, as this may require you to defend yourself or prove that your offense did not cause you to waste marital funds. In addition, if your DUI/DWI was caused by an alcohol or substance abuse issue, your spouse may also argue that you had wasted your marital resources on alcohol or illicit substances.

In Texas, the judge’s decision of dividing marital property will always be based on what the court finds is “just and right.” And with a DUI/DWI in the mix, this may hurt your chances of getting what you think is a fair share of the property.

Call an Austin Divorce Attorney Today

If you, or a loved one, are going through a divorce with DUI or DWI as a complicating factor, talk to the family law experts of Lyttle Law Firm. Call us today at 512.215.5225 to schedule a consultation with Austin family law attorney Daniella Lyttle.

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"Before finding you, I had contracted three different lawyers. You were able to quickly resolve and settle a case that I thought was impossible for settle. Because of your expertise and your professionalism, I was able to save thousands of dollars that I can now dedicate to my family. You were sharp, creative, and a strong advocate for me and my family in the Courtroom and in negotiations with the opposing side. Thank you so much for the work that you do!" T.F.
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"Daniella, you helped me during the darkest and most difficult time in my life. You were always honest, gave me realistic expectations, and you were prepared for anything in the Courtroom and out of the Courtroom. I will be forever grateful for what you did for me and my children. Because of you, I feel that I got a settlement that will put me on the right path for this next chapter of my life as a divorced parent. Thank you and your wonderful team! you all are great!" A.R.
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"Ms. Lyttle's name was given to me by a mutual friend who described Ms. Lyttle as an intelligent lawyer with an athlete's competitive spirit. Ms. Lyttle was a wonderful representative of calm preparedness during what became a lengthy and tenacious divorce litigation. I appreciated her knowledge, her calmness despite the fact that I was very anxuous, and her polite and respectful attitude in the courtroom, and outside of it. Ms. Lyttle helped me to stay focused on the larger picture, and her experience and advice came to me at a time when I was desperate and depended on her. I am glad to report I placed my trust in someone who actually delivered." R.E.
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"I have known Ms. Lyttle for more than two years. She has represented me in my divorce and then in my modification/enforcement case in the most proffessional manner. Ms. Lyttle's ethics are of the highest standards. Her friendship , courtesy ,knowledge and honesty have become very important to me during the last two years as she represented me in my family law case. I have recommended Ms. Lyttle to a many friends facing family law matters and I know I can count on Ms. Lyttle should I need her again in the future." A.W.