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Substance abuse has a significant bearing on child custody

On Behalf of | Dec 6, 2019 | Firm News |

The opioid epidemic sweeping the country shows that addiction knows no gender, race, religion or socioeconomic boundaries. Anyone could end up suffering from an addiction, even your loved ones.

Parents don’t set out to jeopardize their families by becoming addicted to drugs or alcohol, but it does happen. If you are facing a divorce from an addict, your primary concern should be what happens to your children. 

Child custody determinations in the face of addiction

If you found yourself needing to end your marriage due to your future former spouse’s addiction, you could have a significant battle ahead of you. You will want to protect your children from the other parent’s addiction and the behaviors that go along with it. You may not intend to keep them from the other parent permanently, but you do want to receive primary custody of them for as long as the situation continues.

The court will most likely agree with you. In determining the best interests of the children, the court will look at the fitness of each parent. Obviously, someone with an addiction does not meet that standard, at least in the short term. After all, the other parent’s behavior could place the children in danger. If your allegations against the other parent prove true, the court will limit his or her contact with the children, and any contact may require supervision. The Court has the authority to order drug testing on the spot at a Court hearing, and randomly thereafter in order to monitor a parent’s compliance with its orders regarding substance abuse issues.

Protecting your children is priority one

Even though you may have sympathy for your spouse, it cannot interfere with protecting your children. Perhaps in the future he or she will conquer addiction and be able to rebuild relationships with the children. Until then, you probably want to do everything you can to protect them. This may mean going to court.

You may feel hesitant about airing your dirty laundry in court, but that may be what it takes to help your children. Beforehand, you will need to gather evidence of your spouse’s addiction to present to the court. You may need to confront your spouse during the hearing. Fortunately, you don’t have to do any of this alone. You can take advantage of the experience and knowledge of a Board-certified Family Law attorney in Collin County, Dallas County, Denton County, Midland County, Ector County or elsewhere throughout Texas who is no stranger to dealing with these types of issues on behalf of clients like you.