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Child Protection

Alcohol or Drugs and Time with Your Kids

Substance abuse is a common factor of conflict for parents in a divorce. Divorce parties may turn to alcohol and drug use during the divorce process to handle stressful and sadness. With these cases, addictions can result in the separating parties choosing between family or addiction. In any circumstance, families and legal counsel will want to avoid such a situation. Ultimately, the better the case is handled, the better the outcome will be.

The Hard Choice

Family law courts typically recognize addiction as a disease, and it must be treated as such. It’s essential for a parent to get clean and sober for the long term. This activity primarily a focus in a custody or divorce case. A court may not have he ability to force an individual into treatment, but refusal to improve can impair the case. Refusing to seek treatment may prevent a parent from seeing their children. The choice is ultimately in the hands of the addict, forcing them to evaluate what’s important. When substance abuse is a point of contention, it’s crucial the parent participates in an appropriate recovery program.

Allegations Of Abuse

Pleas of alcohol and drug abuse are relatively common. It is not abnormal for opposing parties to create false accusations to manipulate a court’s order for custody. When a parent is abusing illegal substances or alcohol, the court must step in to protect the children. It can be difficult for a court to know what’s right. Each court takes substance abuse claims seriously and resolves them as they see fit.  It’s typical to determine whether allegations are true by ordering tests for the accused party. Often in this situation, a judge may order drug or alcohol tests for both parties.

Positive Test Results

A positive substance abuse result reflects poorly, but it’s not the end of the world. The judge may initially seek to treat the addiction and order monitored sobriety and counseling. During this allotted time, parenting time may be suspended or supervised. It’s best to consult with legal counsel on what to expect in these situations.

Once a parent tests positive and chooses to take action, they’ll be on track to restoring full parenting rights.  A court will want confirmation of sobriety, but parenting time and custody restrictions are generally relaxed. If a parent chooses to ignore the court’s order, the presiding judge may suspend all parenting time. When a parent refuses to choose sobriety, it reinforces the court’s decision. When an addict is unable to progress, the perception of their responsibility can hinder their parenting time allotment. This situation represents a risk to the children in forms of emotional or physical harm.

Our firm understands the triggers and outcomes involved with alcohol and drug abuse. There is a wide range of these cases in family law. Most legal professionals have seen every conceivable circumstance resulting from a stressful divorce or custody case. Be assured that our fight to find the best suitable outcome has never faded.

Posted January 14, 2019
by: MFL Team


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