Choices made by parents will have an impact on their children, and the effects of their decisions may be particularly evident during a divorce. If a parent is struggling with a substance abuse problem, that will affect the terms of a custody order and visitation schedule. If you have concerns about how the other parent of your children could cause harm or duress to your kids for this reason, it is beneficial to understand the options available to you.
Substance abuse can affect a parent’s relationship with his or her child at any point, and it can be a particularly difficult issue during a divorce. You could find yourself in a position where you will have to present evidence that the actions of the other parent could cause harm to your child. While courts prefer to allow kids to maintain strong relationships with both parents, they will protect the best interests of the kids above all else.
What will the court consider?
Colorado family courts take parental rights very seriously, but the interests of the child are the primary concern. If the other biological parent has a substance abuse problem and you have concerns about how this could affect your kids, the following facts could be helpful to you:
- You will have the opportunity to express your concerns about the other parent’s behavior and problems directly to the court during a custody hearing.
- The court will consider whether that behavior hinders the parent’s ability to provide a safe environment for the child.
- The court may order an investigation into the behavior of the parent with an alleged substance abuse problem.
- If the claims are valid, the court may limit the amount of contact that parent has with his or her kids.
The goal of any custody decision is to protect the physical, mental and emotional state of the children above all else. Unfortunately, this may mean limiting a parent’s access to his or her kids if that individual is currently struggling with a substance abuse problem.
The right course of action
It is your main goal to protect your kids. As a concerned parent, you have the right to fight for a custody and visitation order that you believe is in the best interests of the children, allowing them to have stability and security for years to come. If you believe the other parent’s substance abuse problems directly affect his or her ability to parent well, you are entitled to fight for limited or no contact.