Divorce and family law cases can be complicated enough without the additional problems of criminal charges facing one or both parties. Criminal issues may be the cause of the divorce or occur in response to the divorce and what is happening to the people involved. Because the required proof and evidence is different in family and criminal law, the family law case take a slightly different course. There are also new questions about rights and obligations in the divorce or family law case that are impacted by the effect of criminal charges and issues.
A possible scenario where criminal problems affect a divorce:
Husband files for divorce from wife and among the issues are allegations of painkiller abuse. Wife is involved in a car wreck and is arrested for DWI while on pills. Meanwhile, husband is arrested for violating the terms of the court’s standing orders for improper firearm possession.
Common ways the family law case can be impacted:
Following the wife’s DWI arrest, the first issue that arises may be the use of marital funds to pay the retainer fee for wife’s DWI attorney. Husband may object, and request wife use her credit card or take out a small loan, an issue that could go to a hearing.
Meanwhile, husband may use the DWI arrest to support the allegations that wife has painkiller abuse and addiction problems and should not get custody of the children. Wife might seek to delay parts of the family law case until her DWI case is finished, as she believes she will be found not guilty.
In the divorce case, at a temporary orders hearing, father was ordered temporary custody of the children, as it was right after mother’s DWI arrest and her driving privileges were at issue. When father is arrested for violating the standing order, mother and her attorney ask the court to change the temporary orders since father was arrested for firearm possession.
There are a variety of criminal offenses that can occur that impact a family law case:
- Charges of domestic and family violence;
- Substance abuse and DWI, public intoxication arrests;
- Crimes where children were present and/or involved;
- Interference with the court’s child custody order.
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