Going through a divorce or dealing with criminal charges is overwhelming enough on its own. Each is a life-changing event that comes with long-term consequences. What happens when you face both at the same time?
Whether you got in trouble with the law during the divorce process or your criminal activity is the reason for your marriage ending, the effects may be the same. This is what you need to know to prepare.
The biggest impact criminal charges will have is on your parental rights. Colorado courts make custody decisions based on the best interests of your children, and undoubtedly the judge will consider illegal activity involving you. If the behavior has or can harm your children, you may lose custody rights. You may still be able to receive visitation, with or without supervision.
For example, domestic violence can lead to a restraining order, or worse, a no-contact order. It can also lead to stricter requirements concerning decision-making and communication. Incarceration also makes custody and visitation complicated, but it is still possible to maintain a parent-child relationship behind bars.
Handling both a divorce and criminal charges will use up a lot of money in legal fees and court fines. Depending on the crime, you may lose assets. With your divorce, you may have to pay child support and/or alimony. If you go to jail, you can petition to have the amounts go down because your income has gone down. If you do not receive prison time, you can only get a modification if you have experienced a significant lifestyle change, such as job loss or health problems. Not paying child support can land you in jail.
Connections between cases
What happens in each of these cases affects the other. Not only will your criminal case influence your divorce agreement, but your divorce proceedings also influence your criminal trial. Anything you say or do in one can become evidence against you in the other.
Make sure that you understand the stakes in each case, as well as your legal options. Get help from an experienced attorney.