Child Custody: The Effect of Substance Abuse & Addiction

If you struggle with addiction, there’s a need to understand how it might affect your child custody rights. Most times, you can maintain a relationship with your child. However, this only occurs as long as the contact is safe and in the child’s best interest. The extent to which your addiction affects your child custody rights depends on the severity of the situation.

The court is concerned with allowing a child to flourish under both parents’ guardianship. If you’re a parent struggling with addiction, you need more information about how your history can affect how the court decides. In this article, a family law attorney at Waple & Houk will walk you through how you can remain active in your child’s life despite your addiction struggles.

Addiction and Substance Abuse

Addiction and substance abuse are often used interchangeably. However, they could reference illicit drugs, prescription drugs, or even alcohol. The term used in describing your condition could also affect your child custody arrangement. Addiction is a term used in describing a state of dependence on an addictive substance.

Most times, people are referred to as addicts when they depend on alcohol, illicit drugs, or prescription drugs. Alcohol abuse is one of the top addictions in the country. Sadly, only one in ten people diagnosed with Alcohol Use Disorder seek treatment for their condition.

On the other hand, substance abuse is when you misuse an addictive substance. It is the unauthorized use of these addictive substances. Those who binge drink usually exhibit the deadliest form of excessive alcohol use and substance abusers. Furthermore, you are also guilty of substance abuse when you improperly use prescription drugs or even use them without a prescription.

These are all technical terms that determine what your condition is called.

How the Court Awards Child Custody

Most family law courts make their decision in the child’s best interest. This law also guides judges in choosing the best outcome for a child in a custody case. To make a ruling in most child custody cases, the court will consider the child’s age. Younger children usually require more hands-on care than teenagers. Also, the court will consider the parent’s living situation and their ability to provide for the child.

Additionally, the court will determine the best way to maintain a consistent routine for the child and the impact the change of routine and lifestyle will have on the child. Finally, the court will consider the physical and emotional wellbeing of the child. The judge sometimes considers their wishes when the child is old enough.

Why Your Addiction and Substance Abuse Can Affect Child Custody

Like all child custody cases, the court usually evaluates the family’s situation before deciding. Again, the court’s focus is usually the child’s best interest. The court considers a relationship with both parents as positive for the child if the child can be in a safe environment.

If you’re a parent struggling with addiction and want to develop a relationship with your child, it could mean supervised visitations. The court could also insist on visitation in safe and controlled environments until you overcome your addiction.

Can You Demonstrate a Commitment to Sobriety?

If you struggle with substance abuse, the court might require proof of sobriety as a custody requirement. Such documentation could either be a random drug test, enrolling in treatment programs or registering for alcohol monitoring programs. For many individuals who struggle with addiction and substance use, this accountability helps improve their recovery process while rebuilding trust in their familial relationships.

The judge orders a comprehensive system that ensures immediate results in most cases. It will also help to provide peace of mind to the concerned parties. A commitment to sobriety will help parents maintain a relationship with their children. It also ensures the kid’s safety in risky co-parenting arrangements.

Seek the Help of a Waple & Houk Family Lawyer

Many people divorce each year, and they usually have children to take care of. In cases where alcohol addiction or substance abuse is present, you need to know the options available to you. You will often need an experienced family lawyer to help you understand the laws in place.

Showing the court that you have healthy habits is essential in a child custody case. An experienced family lawyer at Waple & Houk will help you know your rights and be ready in a child custody case. Contact us to learn more about your chances of winning.

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