Even if ending a marriage is the correct decision, divorce can be exceedingly stressful. In fact, according to Psychology Today, mental health professionals often consider divorce to be virtually as stressful as the death of a close loved one.
Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for individuals to use alcohol to cope with the stress of divorce. While there are definitely healthier ways to manage stress, your soon-to-be ex-spouse may regularly reach for the bottle. If your husband or wife does and chooses to drive under the influence, you may wonder whether you are responsible for the costs of his or her DUI.
Equitable distribution of marital property
If your marriage is still valid at the time of your spouse’s DUI, he or she may use marital funds to pay for fines, court costs, legal fees, educational classes and other related expenses. This may set you back more than $10,000. Rather than simply accepting the loss, you should be sure to bring these payments to your attorney’s attention.
In Tennessee, judges divide marital property equitably during divorce proceedings. This requires them to consider a variety of factors. Put simply, a judge may not think it is fair for you to pay for your soon-to-be ex’s DUI in the lead-up to your divorce. If so, you may receive a significantly larger share of your marital estate when your divorce becomes final.
Your legal strategy
You should not have to pay for your future ex-spouse’s irresponsible behavior. Still, to increase your chances of receiving a favorable outcome, you want to collect as much evidence as possible. If you can, collect receipts, court documents and any other proof that your spouse used marital funds to pay his or her DUI-related expenses.
Ultimately, if you receive compensation from your spouse for the marital funds he or she has spent in the aftermath of a DUI, you are likely to have both less resentment and more money with which to begin the next chapter of your life.