Let’s be honest: Drug and alcohol addiction can ruin even the most stable relationship. It can tear a family apart. And yes, it can destroy a life. And for folks with kids, drug and alcohol addiction can complicate a child custody arrangement. The court wants what is best for the children after the divorce, and drug and alcohol addiction is one of the things the court takes seriously when ruling on child custody.
In a highly contested child custody battle, each party will likely try to come up with reasons why the other party is not fit for custody. In some cases, one parent may have genuine concerns about the other parent’s ability to provide a safe environment for the child in light of their addiction problem.
From custody to supervised visitation
If one parent has an addiction problem, one of the decisions the court may consider is custody modification to incorporate supervised visitation. To guarantee the child’s safety during supervised visits, the court may set forth the following guidelines:
- The parent with an addiction problem may be required to take alcohol and drug tests before each visit
- The affected parent may be directed to avoid any possession or consumption of alcohol during the visit
- The affected parent may be restricted to where they can go with the child
Overall, the court will direct the affected parent to sign up for a drug or alcohol rehabilitation program to treat their addiction so they can establish a healthy relationship with the child.
From custody to permanent revocation of parental rights
In the worst-case scenario, the court may consider terminating the addicted parent’s rights to their children. While it can be heartbreaking to see a parent lose their parental rights, the court may be compelled to make such a decision in the best interest of the child. Usually, this happens under the following circumstances:
- When addiction has resulted in mental illness
- When the addicted parent is abusing the child
No child custody decree is permanent. Drug and alcohol addiction is one of the major reasons why a parent may lose custody of their child.