Will a DUI Affect My Divorce?

Written by Jonathan Breeden

April 11, 2018

A divorce is a stressful time. Even when you are confident that ending your marriage is the right thing to do, the actual legal proceedings take a great deal of time and thought. There is no quick and easy way through it. During this time, you do not need anything else added to your plate, which is why the distress of being arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) is magnified. Not only do you have to worry about what will happen with your DUI case, you have to wonder whether a DUI will affect your divorce.

To learn about the intersection of divorce and DUI charges, contact a North Carolina divorce lawyer from Breeden Law Office at (919) 661-4970 to schedule a consultation.

Child Custody

One of the most significant ways a DUI can impact your divorce is by creating a child custody issue. Whether or not you are convicted of a DUI, being arrested for one may call into question your ability to responsibly and safely parent your children. Your spouse may use this as evidence that it is not safe for you to drive the children around or have them stay overnight. If you are convicted and lose your driver’s license, this is also an issue your spouse can use to gain full physical custody of the children.

Given the serious consequences a DUI could have on your right to see your children, you need to work with an experienced divorce lawyer to mitigate the effect of a DUI arrest or conviction. A lawyer will help you show a judge that a DUI arrest or conviction does not represent how you parent your children.

Marital Funds

If you are arrested for a DUI, the legal proceedings are going to cost you money. If you are convicted, you will have to pay various fines and possibly pay for an ignition interlock device. This could add up to hundreds or thousands of dollars, and your spouse may want to ensure you do not use marital funds. Your DUI arrest or conviction may make your divorce more complex if you have to avoid using certain funds to defend yourself or prove you did not waste marital funds on your defense.

If your spouse claims your DUI is part of an alcohol addiction, then they may also argue that you wasted marital resources on large quantities of alcohol. If your spouse can demonstrate wasteful spending, they may have a basis for asking for a greater portion of the marital estate when your property is divided.


It may be that a DUI does not directly impact your divorce, particularly if you do not have minor children. However, dealing with DUI criminal proceedings while also navigating a divorce is going to increase the amount of stress you are under. The anxiety from dealing with the DUI could bleed over into your divorce proceedings, making you more aggressive and confrontational than you need to be.
The best way to keep the two proceedings and your emotions about them separate is to work with an experienced divorce attorney. A lawyer will work with you to make sure you are not letting the stress of situation impact your reasoning in regard to your divorce.

Call a Divorce Lawyer Today

Sitting around and worrying about how a DUI arrest or conviction is going to change the course of your divorce does not help your situation. The better option is to be proactive and contact a lawyer who can review your case and explain the potential implications. Attorney Jonathan Breeden has handled complicated divorces and is here to help. Contact Breeden Law Office today at (919) 661-4970 to schedule a case consultation.


Divorce In North Carolina: What You Need To Know

A book by Jonathan Breeden