Question: I'm concerned that my wife will get custody of our 3 kids. She said she wants sole custody and doesn't want the kids to live with me. We are going through a divorce after 19 years of marriage. Things have not been good in our marriage for about 4 years when I found out that she was having an affair with her boss at work. She said it was over but I know it kept going because I saw their emails and texts and they were sending each other sexy pictures. I have been sleeping in the basement for almost 2 years and sometimes she sneaks down and turns off the air conditioning.
My problem is that I have 4 DUI convictions in the past 10 years. I got 2 DUI charges in Atlanta, 1 in Sandy Springs and 1 in Forsyth County. My wife knows about all of them. I still have my license but a court might hold the DUI charges against me.
We live in Alpharetta and I work in Atlanta for an insurance company. I have done everything the courts where I got the drunk driving charges have ordered me to do. I've finished probation, done DUI school and paid all my fines. I don't think I have a drinking problem and I don't go to AA or anything like that. I got stopped because I was unlucky and I was driving very late at night.
Will the 4 DUI's be a big problem for me in the divorce? Can they really impact custody of our kids?
Answer: The DUI convictions may very well impact custody. Her attorneys will argue that the four DUI convictions mean that you have a drinking problem. They will argue that because you have a dependency issue and have not gotten specific treatment to address it, that it would not be in the “best interests of the children” for you to have custody. In Georgia, custody is determined by a court using a “best interests of the child” standard. That does not mean that you can't have visitation with your children, but it may severely limit your having custody.
Your divorce lawyers will want to show evidence that you do not have a drinking problem and that if you did have an alcohol problem, it has been professionally treated. You may want to become a member of Alcoholics Anonymous or a similarly well-thought of and effective organization to demonstrate to the court that you are addressing any potential alcohol problem. You will want to introduce evidence that you are now and will remain sober.
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