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Can My Criminal Background Affect My Long Island Divorce?

by | Apr 28, 2020 | divorce, News and Events

Going through a divorce is difficult enough without navigating criminal charges. When criminal proceedings are intertwined with family legal matters, things can quickly become stressful. If you’ve been charged with a crime, either recently or in the past, your divorce may be affected. This is particularly true if you have children with your ex-spouse. Here’s what you need to know about proceeding with a divorce if you have a criminal background.

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DUI Charges, Divorce & Child Custody

If you were charged with a DUI, or driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, this generally won’t impact your divorce case unless you have children. A DUI on your record could lead Long Island divorce courts to believe you are less capable of caring for your children or will expose your children to an alcoholic lifestyle. If you were charged with an aggravated DUI or DUI with a minor in your vehicle, it may be even more difficult to petition the court for custody and visitation rights. Your divorce may be impacted if your spouse was in the vehicle when you were charged or if you caused an accident in which your spouse and/or children were injured.

Domestic Violence Charges, Divorce & Child Custody

Domestic violence charges will almost assuredly have a negative impact on your divorce case, whether you have children or not. Even accusations that are proven false can have a lasting effect on your relationships and career.

If you were charged with domestic violence against your partner, a divorce court may automatically favor your spouse in settlement proceedings. They may be more likely to be awarded the marital home, especially if you do have children and your spouse is their primary custodian. A court may also determine that you should pay alimony or spousal support while your spouse finds employment or obtains additional education.

If you were charged with child abuse, you may find it very difficult to get custody or visitation rights of any kind to your children. Courts are highly likely to award your spouse with legal and physical custody, and may not give you any legal rights to your children. If you are in a counseling, anger management, or substance abuse treatment program and can prove that you are dedicated to the wellbeing of your children, you may be awarded supervised visitation. Over time, you may be able to earn back some custody or visitation rights, especially if you continue to maintain a clear criminal record.

Drug Crimes, Divorce & Child Custody

If you have a history of drug crimes, you may find that obtaining a fair settlement with your spouse or being awarded custody of your children is difficult. The more serious the crime, the less likely it is that you will be looked at favorably during your divorce, but not all drug crimes will impact your divorce case. For example, if you were charged with the first-time possession of a small amount of a controlled substance for personal use, it may not have any bearing on your settlement at all. However, if you were charged with trafficking or sale to a minor, chances are that a New York court is less likely to overlook the charge and will carefully evaluate how it may impact your case.

Order of Protection Violations, Divorce & Child Custody

Order of protection violations are often treated similarly to domestic violence and child abuse allegations in regard to divorce. If you violated an order of protection that your spouse took out against you, it may be harder for you to obtain a divorce settlement that offers you a fair share of marital property. If you violated an order of protection for your children, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to obtain any type of custody or visitation without counseling, anger management, and time.

When to Contact a Long Island Divorce Lawyer

If you’re considering dissolving your marriage or you’ve been served with divorce papers and you have a criminal background, it’s critical that you consult an experienced divorce attorney as soon as possible. Often, individuals with a criminal history are treated unfairly by divorce courts, even when the charge has no bearing on the divorce or custody proceedings. At Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C., we have the skills and experience to provide you with aggressive, comprehensive legal representation during your divorce. Call now for your consultation at 631-923-1910.


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At your meeting, your attorney will describe the many options available and determine together which is the right solution for you. By the end of this meeting we’ll all understand how we can best help you to move forward.

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There is no cost or obligation for this initial consultation. It is simply an opportunity for us to get to know each other, answer your questions and learn if Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C. is right the right law firm for you. Give us a call at 631-923-1910 or fill in the short form below to schedule your free consultation and case evaluation.

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