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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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Ann Masten
Ann Masten
17:48 12 May 20
I am a paralegal in an unrelated field of law. I phoned Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C. today intending to refer a client to their office. Instead (and despite that we are the midst of the present crisis), Mr. Hornberger himself graciously accommodated my questions over the telephone, and was generous with his time and adroit in his response, saving our client a small fortune in unnecessary legal fees. I have not had any similar experience, in which counsel was so generous with his expertise, in 22+ years of interacting with prominent, local attorneys, and the client is overjoyed. Based on this experience, I would now whole -heartedly recommend this firm as trusted professionals to any client requiring a firm expert in family law and related legal issues.
Everett Roberts
Everett Roberts
14:30 18 Mar 20
Going through a divorce was very challenging and emotional. Searching for an attorney can be challenging as well when you consider everything that is at stake. The choice I made to work with Rob Hornberger was surely the best choice available. His professionalism, expertise, and understanding made him and the entire team perfectly suited to achieve the outcomes I desired. Rob was always available to answer my questions and give me advice and legal considerations that affected my situation. The support I received from his staff was exemplary as well. The staff was courteous, kind, and also very professional. Thank you so much Rob and team for a worry free experience.
Annemarie Cusumano
Annemarie Cusumano
21:41 17 Mar 20
Being in family court especially when your children are on the line is extremely emotional and stressful but working with Robert and Christine put me at ease and made the process as pleasant as a situation like that can be. I have a now 3 year old daughter (who is the most important person in my life) and I've been working with them for over two years since my daughter was 7 months old, the case has been up and down and through it all Rob and Christine have never given up. My original case was due to a neglect charge. Cps is not easy to work with, but Rob and Christine were vigilant and I ended up getting my daughter back within 8 months and did not have to plead guilty to the neglect. Currently I am in family court to figure out a custody agreement. They are professional, empathetic, and patient. They have always explained everything thoroughly, informed me of all my options and advised me of what my best option would be. They always respond quickly when I contact them with questions or concerns and most importantly they fight for me in court and don't give up even when things get rough. Before hiring Rob and Christine I met with other attorneys who did not make me feel confident or comfortable at all about my case, so I am very grateful to have found Rob and Christine and to be represented by such great attorneys. I highly recommend them for any family court matters and will definitely continue to use them in the future if needed.
Steven Frierman
Steven Frierman
02:25 07 Mar 20
After meeting with 3 different lawyers, we felt Robert understood us best and he genuinely had our best interests at heart. This helped us resolve a few minor issues in a timely fashion and make a potentially stressful situation go more smoothly.Thank you
Randi Gottlieb
Randi Gottlieb
18:47 03 Mar 20
Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C. - Mr. Robert Hornberger and his staff are beyond professional, they quickly gave me my consultation appointment, and helped me with an after-Divorce issue. Mr. Hornberger was empathetic and explained to me what I should expect. Mr. Hornberger was extremely professional and advised me of my options, he helped me proceed with accurate and smart decisions. I wish I had Mr. Hornberger and his highly recommended staff when I was getting divorced. I would highly recommend Robert and his staff to anyone who is getting a divorce or in need of help with situations after the divorce!


  • I have known Robert for more than 8 eight years. Robert has represented many of my family and friends. Each and every one has raved about Robert’s professionalism and expertise. He is knowledgable, friendly and truly cares about his clients. I would not hesitate to continue to refer Robert and his firm in the future!
  • I’ve known Robert for most of my life, and feel very fortunate that I have been able to turn to a good friend for various kinds of legal advice. He is very intelligent, straight forward, and professional. Most importantly though, Robert always finds the fastest resolution, and will not waste your time or money. He is NOT in the habit of dragging things through litigation if there is no need for the added expense. I have referred a few of my friends to Robert, and they have all been more than satisfied in their experience with him. Highly recommend!!



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