Substance abuse could impact your custody rights

There is no doubt that going through a divorce can be difficult and upsetting. Some people may turn to drinking alcohol to cope. Others may start to use substances like sleep aids or anxiety medications to get through the day.

If you believe that you have developed a dependency on drugs or alcohol or are being accused of being addiction, you need to understand how your situation could impact your child custody arrangements.

Substance abuse and child custody

The reality is that you always need to think about the things you do and how they may impact your children. If you are sleep deprived and are taking sleep aids, you could end up falling asleep while caring for them or put them in danger when driving them to school, for example. While using drugs for a cold or insomnia might be appropriate in some circumstances, abusing these substances could be harmful to you and to your children. That’s why the courts take this allegation so seriously.

If you are accused of abusing substances, you will want to take steps to defend yourself against that claim.

What should you do if a claim is made against you?

To start with, you will need to talk to your attorney about responding to the claim and handling any actions that may have already been taken against you. In family court, it’s likely that a judge will order an investigation to determine if the claims made against you are true. It’s at this point that you will want to take steps to show that the medications you take or substances you use are being taken legally and as directed. If you don’t use drugs or drink, having witnesses testify on your behalf could be helpful.

What happens if you do lose custody because of substance abuse?

In many cases, you’ll still be able to obtain visitation rights. It’s in your best interests to seek support if you are dealing with a substance use disorder so that you can show that you are trying to improve your condition and heal. After going through treatment and the recovery process, it could be possible to get custody of your children back in the future.