How can I protect my child, myself and our lives from potential liability from a DUI accident?

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How can I protect my child, myself and our lives from potential liability from a DUI accident?

My husband was arrested for DUI, but not convicted, 2 months ago. Even though I’ve tried, he refuses to accept the seriousness of the situation and not drive after having anything to drink. I know that if something more serious were to happen than a DUI arrest, my family could be directly impacted. A friend of mine cannot have “anything nice” because of her husband’s outstanding DUI responsibilities from an accident. Outside of legal separation or divorce, is there any legal way I can protect my child, myself and our lives from his stupidity and stubbornness?

Asked on July 23, 2011 Illinois

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

There may be no good way, short of divorce, to do this. As you probably know, as a general matter, automobile insurance policies will not cover in the event of DUI, so if he injures someone, there will be no insurance to pay on your behalf. (Check your policy to confirm this exclusion.)

It may be possible to transfer certain assets either to your name alone or to an LLC (limited liability company), which *may* protect them. This is something worth discussing with an attorney, who can through your assets with you line by line (so to speak). There are problems with it--changing ownership can impact taxes, can affect inheritance and ability of the other spouse to exercise control (if necessary), and worse, could possibly be ineffectual, in that if the transfer is made in knowledge of potential liabilty (you know your husband is a DUI risk), it could possible be set aside as a fraud on creditors. It's still worth discussing with an attorney, but it's not a panecea or silver bullet.


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