Custody disputes can be incredibly stressful for everyone involved. It’s also incredibly complex, which means that you might have many questions that can’t be answered until you consult with an attorney who can listen to the specifics of your case and give you directed advice. While you’re considering an attorney, or even staying with that boyfriend with the DWI, it helps to be well-informed about the custody process.
How is Custody Determined?
When the court determines custody, they look at a variety of angles in the child’s life as well as each spouse’s life. They’ll want to know which parent is the main caregiver, which parent is a better fit for the role of sole caregiver and whether there are influential people in the child’s life with either parent.
The court will want to know where the child will live, and if they’ll be taken out of school if custody is given to one of the parents over the other. For example, if the child lives with Dad in the family home nearby to the child’s school, it’s likely that the court will keep the child with Dad to avoid uprooting the child from school.
The people in your child’s life can be screened by the court to determine if there will be a problem. If there’s a boyfriend living in the house, that boyfriend’s life will be examined to learn whether he’s a good influence in the child’s life.
While it may seem like the ex-husband is looking for excuses to gain custody, the court wants to know about people with a drinking problem in the child’s life. While you can hope the ex and the court doesn’t find out, it’s to assume that they will.
As the person with sole custody of the child, you might know that the boyfriend made a mistake one night, and the child wouldn’t be riding in his car anyway. The court doesn’t know this fact. In some cases, the court might not care about the circumstances at all. A DUI is a very serious offense in the eyes of many judges.
Any time you have someone around your child who has a criminal background, you’re putting yourself in danger of losing the child to the ex-husband. Courts do not look favorably on a parent who will allow a criminal around their child. It often doesn’t matter what the crime was, but it could matter if the crime was in the past.
If a person you’re dating had a DWI ten years ago in college, that may not have an impact on the current standing of your divorce and custody dispute.
When you’re in the middle of a divorce and custody battle, the other side will find anything that will give them the edge. A charge of driving while intoxicated is a major edge for the ex-husband.
The only way to know the impact of your boyfriend’s DWI is to talk to an attorney. You’ll need to prove that the child will not be riding with the boyfriend, and you might even have to make a choice between custody of the child and having your boyfriend around.
The court wants to ensure that you’re a responsible parent, and if you are dating someone that makes irresponsible decisions, that might impact how the court sees you too. Your lawyer will be able to take the exact facts of your case and help you make a decision about what to do next. You might need to bring in witnesses in defense of your situation, or break up with the boyfriend. You’ll need to be ready to make hard choices.