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How your past DUI could impact a child custody case

On Behalf of | Sep 20, 2021 | Firm News

There are many people in Virginia who have successfully overcome alcohol addictions. If you have a past history of alcohol abuse, you know that what’s in your past record doesn’t necessarily reflect the person you are today. While going through a child custody dispute, though, that DUI on your record could hurt you.

Alcohol abuse can be a key factor in child custody cases

When parents can’t reach an agreement on child custody outside of court, a family court judge will have to step in and make a decision. If one parent claims that the other parent has an alcohol problem, this could be a key factor in the judge’s decision. Child custody decisions are based on the best interests of the child, so a parent who engages in excessive drinking will be considered less fit.

The judge will probably need proof of alcoholism before determining that the accused parent should lose custody. Records such as past DUI convictions or an arrest for public intoxication may be viewed as proof that one parent is a threat to their child’s safety. That’s why a past DUI can present a problem in child custody negotiations.

Proving current alcohol abuse

You may be able to successfully argue that your alcohol problems are behind you or that a DUI was a one-time occurrence and doesn’t indicate a pattern. However, your ex-spouse may accuse you of abusing alcohol currently and request an EtG test. An EtG test can determine whether you have consumed alcohol in the past 80 days.

Know your rights

It’s important to know that you do not have to submit to an EtG test or any other test in a child custody case unless a judge orders you to. While this type of test can show whether you drank alcohol, it does not prove that you abused alcohol. If you are being accused of alcoholism in a child custody case, you may want to tread carefully and consider all your options.


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