A criminal legal problem can certainly disrupt your divorce case, as a family lawyer can attest. While you believe everything is proceeding according to plan, the unlikely but sometimes foreseeable phone call will alert you that your soon to be former spouse was arrested and may be charged with a crime. Depending on the nature of the alleged offense you might not be thrown too far off course. That said, some new issues may arise out of the criminal law case that affects your divorce and family law matter.
Examples of criminal charges arising during a divorce
Your spouse could be in criminal trouble for so many different reasons, not limited to conflict in the marriage and divorce. Where, however, the spark leading to an arrest comes from stress during divorce, there are a few common sources of criminal conduct. Family violence, drug, alcohol, driving and drug offenses can all be traced back to a person perceiving their life to be unravelling. Not everyone handles stress well and people with propensities for trouble may too frequently snap under pressure.
Your spouse might also be engaged in white collar or other crimes and is arrested and charged, leading to your decision to file for divorce. Acts of domestic and family violence may also cause you to divorce. Depending on the severity of offenses and charges, it may not be practical to remain married.
Criminal charges against a party to divorce can affect the entire family
If the arrest is recent, an immediate concern may be bail money and the retainer to hire a criminal defense attorney. Depending on your relationship, you may want to help your spouse, so they can continue working and earning income to support the family if possible. In other cases, you might object to the use of marital funds to pay for bail and criminal defense lawyers.
If you are one charged with a crime you should find a criminal lawyer who will work closely with your divorce attorney so that everyone is on the page with respect to how each case will proceed. The divorce case might have to be slightly delayed based on criminal charges and procedures. Another issue is the ability to see your children and how the criminal case will affect custody and visitation issues.
Long term effects of criminal convictions and incarceration.
Temporary bouts of anger can lead to very long-term periods of lockup. In the heat of passion people might lose control. With serious charges including attempted murder or great bodily harm, someone might be going to prison. If this happens, the spouse on the outside might seek to terminate the parental rights of the other, especially if they remarry to another who wants to adopt the children.
If jail time is short enough, the individual might still be able to see the children, but most likely visitation will be supervised. Child support may be an ongoing issue and could be abated during periods of incarceration, and when on the outside, the individual may be searching for a job and ordered by the family court to find work and start paying current and back support obligations.