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How a divorced parent's DUI can impact child custody

An arrest for driving under the influence can turn anyone's life upside down. You could lose your right to drive for awhile. You may face jail time. Depending on what you do for a living, you could even lose your job and possibly jeopardize your entire career.

If you're a divorced parent, a DUI could impact your custody agreement and your access to your children. Of course, if your children were in the car with you when you got the DUI, you will likely face enhanced criminal penalties for child endangerment.

However, even if they weren't with you, you could face restrictions on having your children in a vehicle you're driving even when you get your license back. Since a DUI can be used as evidence of a substance abuse issues, a co-parent could further seek to make the case that the children aren't safe when they're alone with you under any circumstances.

People who are arrested for DUI, and particularly those who are convicted, often find themselves in the middle of a renewed custody battle. Their chances of winning that battle are more difficult if they're repeat DUI offenders.

Expect to find yourself questioned by a judge and social workers. No matter how angry and frustrated this makes you, remember that their focus is the safety and well-being of your children.

You're not helpless. You can take steps to show that you're getting the treatment you need if you have a drinking problem and that you hope to make this a positive lesson for your kids in the long run. Your Arizona family law attorney can help you as you go through this process.

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