Whether someone routinely ingests drugs or isn’t effectively managing their alcohol consumption, their habits will potentially strain their relationship with their spouse. Those who are struggling with drug and/or alcohol addiction also frequently have a hard time serving as present and effective parents.
One spouse who is coming to terms with another’s substance abuse disorder may realize eventually that the best option for them and the children in the family is to divorce and start maintaining a separate household. They may worry about sharing custody with someone who has a serious issue with chemical dependence.
They need to document their concerns
Judges have to fairly apply family law statutes in numerous high-intensity scenarios. Parents sometimes make exaggerated or outright fabricated claims about one another in family court because they want sole custody of the children.
Claims of family violence and substance abuse can influence custody proceedings because these issues affect parenting, but judges will typically be skeptical of such allegations, at least initially. Parents therefore need evidence to prove that they have a valid reason for concern.
Hospital records and police reports can be valuable starting points when gathering proof of a history of substance abuse. Statements from neighbors, family members and others who have encountered an individual while under the influence could also help.
Even what someone shares on social media and the text messages they have sent to friends and family could help paint a picture of what they are like while under the influence and validate the other parent’s concerns about them having unfettered access to the children in the family.
Provided that there is sufficient evidence of chemical dependence, a parent may be able to convince the courts to limit the other parent’s time with the children at least until they undergo counseling to regain control over their issues.
A parent who is hoping to request sole custody will need to consider how likely they are to be successful and the right way to approach the matter in court. Seeking legal guidance to better understand when a situation may justify or request for sole custody can benefit those who are concerned about the safety of their children during a divorce.