Parenting even under the best of circumstances certainly comes with its challenges, but when the parents of a child are no longer in a relationship and one party is struggling with substance abuse, it can complicate things even further. In these situations, it’s normal to be concerned about your ex and how to protect your children without harming their relationship with the parent.
While the family courts usually assume that it is in the best interests of the children to have access to both parents on a regular basis, circumstances involving drug or alcohol abuse can affect this. Even when they have the best of intentions, the truth is that a parent who is using drugs and/or alcohol and is impaired is at a higher risk of poor judgement and making decisions that could threaten the physical, emotional and mental safety of the children.
The courts take these issues very seriously, but it’s also important to understand that allegations are just that until they are proven. If you are concerned about your ex’s drug or alcohol abuse and believe there may be an issue that is putting the children at risk, it will be very important to show evidence of this to the courts. It’s common for divorces and custody battles to involve a fair amount of mudslinging in an attempting to make the other parent look bad, and the courts will not usually making substantial changes to custody arrangements without proof of an issue.
If you’re not sure what kind of evidence or testimony is needed or you have questions about common parts of the process, such as the appointing of a guardian ad litem and whether you can request that your ex be subjected to random drug tests, we can help.