I would say that at least 1 and 4 child custody cases I encounter involve alcohol or some other substance abuse. These cases are difficult but they are especially challenging when children are involved. The right to parent is a constitutional right but the children’s best interests must be considered and their wellbeing must be protected.
If you are going through a divorce and one parent has an alcohol problem, the Custody Judgement or Parenting Plan has to be drafted to protect the kids but how?
1. There can be a general provision that the children will not be released to the alcoholic’s care if he or she is obviously under the influence.
2. If the alcohol problem is very severe, it may be necessary to insist on “supervised visitation” or parenting time. The impaired parent may only be allowed to see the children under supervision from an agreed upon family member or in an official center where professionals are present.
3. You can insist that the alcoholic parent undergo an alcohol evaluation.
4. Once the evaluation has taken place. You can insist on some sort of treatment. You can also insist that the impaired parent be alcohol free for a certain period of weeks before he or she is allowed to be with the minor children alone.
5. You can insist that the parent attend a meetings on a consistent basis after treatment.
6. The plan can mandate that the alcoholic not consume alcohol for a certain time before coming in contact with the minor children. You can also insist that the alcoholic not consume alcohol when he or she is with the children.
These are just a few suggestions that can help you deal with substance abuse in your child custody case.