Can Visitation Be Denied for a Noncustodial Parent If the Parent Has Been Convicted of a 2nd Offense DUI?

Custodial and visitation rights can be state-specific and maddeningly complex. As the sole custodian of your child, you have substantial discretion over his or her movements while he or she is in your custody. However, you may have less say over what happens during court-ordered visitation sessions with his or her noncustodial parent. Likewise, you may have little influence over the decision-making processes of your family-court judge.

If you believe that your former partner poses a serious danger to your child, you'll have to go to considerable lengths to change your current custodial arrangement. Depending upon the laws, precedents and generally-accepted practices of the state in which you live, your options may be limited. You'll either need to compile multiple pieces of evidence suggesting that your former partner is a menace or produce a damaging revelation that the judge will find impossible to ignore.

In this situation, DUI convictions do not necessarily qualify as "damaging revelations." While each state's family court system is known for adhering to slightly different customs, few courts would point to a noncustodial parent's second DUI conviction as evidence that they pose a grave threat to their child. A second conviction that occurs more than five years after the first is even less likely to be an issue.

Your judge may be more inclined to deny visitation rights if the DUI occurred during or immediately after a parental visitation period. The circumstances surrounding the incident may be important as well. If your former partner caused injury or property damage while intoxicated and incurred other charges as a result, your judge may be less sympathetic to his or her pleas for leniency. Any felony charges associated with the impaired-driving incident may result in the automatic revocation of a noncustodial parent's visitation privileges.

Some visitation cases may be even clearer-cut. If your child was in the car during the DUI arrest, your judge will almost certainly revoke the noncustodial parent's visitation privileges.

You may still be able to convince your judge to revoke your former partner's visitation rights without the benefit of such an open-and-shut scenario. Talk to teachers, relatives, friends and others who have had frequent contact with your former partner to compile evidence of habitual drinking and poor decision-making. If you have witnesses to back up the claim that your child's noncustodial parent is dangerous and untrustworthy, your judge may be more inclined to believe it.

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