Child Custody Children Divorce Law

Divorce and Drinking in CA: Will a DUI Affect My Custody Rights?

When parents are going through a divorce that involves a battle for the custody of children, there are considerations when DUI charges are pending or were present in the past. California courts are concerned with the safety, well-being and proper care of the children. Having physical custody of a child involves many responsibilities. Ultimately, the goal of the court system is to place children in a home that offers optimum parenting skills.

If you are trying to obtain legal custody and not physical custody, a DUI may still be a serious consideration. Decisions about a child’s health, education and many other details of their daily life may be better handled by the parent that shows responsibility through their own actions.

What Else May a DUI Charge Imply?

Our Walnut Creek DUI lawyer in California suggests that the court will want to know your background as a parent. If you have a current DUI charge, is it because you are a partier? If so, will parenting take a backseat to the lure of your social life? Was the child present in the car when you were stopped for the violation? Even if you had just dropped off your child or were just arriving to pick up her up, that is a serious situation and concern for the court when making custody decisions.

Current DUI Charge

The wisest decision you can make when faced with a DUI charge while a custody hearing is in progress, is to get an attorney who is knowledgeable and experienced with DUI cases. If you live in Northern California, contacting an attorney local to the area is essential to helping you achieve a favorable outcome. In fact, if this DUI is your first offense, a California court may allow a plea bargain that will reduce the charge so that no DUI will be entered on the records.

While the DUI charge may enter into the decision about custody, facing the charge and making an effort to resolve the issue will also have an impact, and hopefully, a positive one. Calling an attorney as early as possible after a DUI arrest is important because he or she can counsel you in many ways if they are involved in the case from the beginning. You could even choose a lawyer who is experienced in both DUI and child custody issues.

Past DUI Charges

Some other things to think about if you have past DUI charges on you record are: How did you handle those? Did you have more than one? Was it determined that you had a drinking problem? If so, did you complete a program to conquer the addiction and did that result in no additional DUI charges? A continuing history of DUIs is extremely detrimental to a custody hearing.

Another issue that may have adverse effects on your child custody case is if the DUI charge was coupled with other charges. Did the DUI involve an accident? Were any criminal charges filed? Were people hurt or was property damaged? All of these factors will be considered in your ability to care for your children.

Finding the Best DUI Attorney

As a parent facing a custody battle and a DUI issue, you will undoubtedly need the best attorney you can afford. Sharing custody of your children, at least part of the time, is a big incentive to get an attorney on your side as soon as the DUI charge is filed. A qualified legal team will be instrumental in helping you by offering the best possible options and alternatives in your specific situation. Knowing all your options and what actions you need to take is vital to the success of both your DUI charge and your custody hearing.

Karla M. Somers has worked as a child advocate and family mediator for divorce in New York. She is a contributing writer for the Law Offices of Johnson & Johnson, a dedicated Walnut Creek DUI lawyer team who is passionate about DUI defense and parental rights cases. They can answer your questions and help you put legal matters behind you.

Divorce Law Family Law

Divorce and Title Loans: Who Gets the Car? (US Law)

Dog in carThe divorce process can be an intricate situation that leads to many unforeseen problems, both emotionally and financially. If you were having financial problems before you filed for divorce, there’s a possibility that you may have acquired some considerable debts. Sometimes, people in this situation obtain a car title loan to come up with the money they need to help cover the cost of divorce. If you have recently filed for divorce, there may be some question as to who gets the car when this type of loan is involved. Here are a few things to consider about this scenario.

Paying Back the Title Loan

In a divorce situation, you have to be careful how you handle the debt. If no one pays the title loan back, the lender is going to keep the car. Whoever originally signed for the loan is responsible for the money that was borrowed. According to TitleMasters, you will have 30 days to pay off your loan, and in some cases you may also qualify for a 30-day extension.

If the money does not get paid back within the term of the loan, then the lender has the right to take the car and sell it. The lender will keep any money that is generated from the sale of the car. This means that if you are in the middle of a divorce settlement, you need to make sure your title pawn agreement is paid back before the car gets repossessed and sold.

Settlement and Court Ruling

During the process of filing for a divorce, you and your spouse may try to settle things outside of court. In this situation, both parties may hire lawyers to represent them during negotiations. Both spouses and their lawyers will meet to discuss the terms of the divorce. In these negotiation sessions, you work together to determine what happens to the car, as well as how any other marital property is distributed.

If nothing can be decided in negotiations outside of court, then the divorce court will have to get involved. When this happens, both you and your spouse will present information before a judge. The judge will listen to the information and divide the assets in a way that he or she deems equitable for both parties. The judge may decide to give you the car, or give it to your spouse, regardless of who signed the original loan agreement.

Typically, in a court case, you can make requests as to what type of property you would like to receive from the marital estate, but the decision is ultimately up to the judge. If you want to make sure that you get the car, it is usually better to settle outside of court, where you have more control over the outcome, rather than having a judge decide what’s best for you and your spouse.

Marital Property

When determining who takes possession of a car after a divorce has been filed, you also have to look at whether the vehicle was considered to be marital property or not. For example, if you, as an individual, owned the car prior to getting married, then it would not necessarily be considered marital property, if the car were still in your name. If one of your parents or a relative left you an inheritance without giving any to your spouse, then that is not always considered marital property either. In a situation of this nature, you may be entitled to keep the car without having to compensate your spouse for his or her half. If the vehicle is determined to be marital property, you may have to pay your spouse something for their share of the car.

The divorce process addresses many issues concerning property, finances and emotions. If you have a vehicle title loan while filing for divorce, make sure both you and your spouse understand the terms. The more prepared you are for negotiations, the better the outcome for all involved.

Karla M. Somers is a freelance writer, interpersonal relationship expert, and former family mediator for the state of New York. She is a contributing writer for Atlanta based lenders, TitleMasters.