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Substance abuse programs and child custody

On Behalf of | Jan 30, 2019 | Family Law |

If you suffer from alcohol and/or drug issues, spending some time in rehab can put you on the path to a happier, healthier life. If you’re a divorced parent whose substance abuse issues have cost you custody and perhaps even unsupervised visitation rights, completing an inpatient recovery program can help you be the parent your kids need.

By taking the important step of entering a treatment program, you’re showing your co-parent, the court and your children that you are taking responsibility for your problems and willing to do the hard work needed to get clean and sober. Of course, this will mean maintaining sobriety after you’ve completed the program. This often includes individual counseling and regular participation in groups like Alcoholics Anonymous.

Once you’ve completed a recovery program, you can begin to work to gain increased custody of your kids. However, it’s essential to realize that this won’t happen overnight. The court will want to see that you are able to remain sober outside of an inpatient program. By agreeing to an alcohol monitoring system, you may be able to help improve your chances of spending time with your kids without supervision.

What if you’ve managed to keep your problem a secret from your co-parent, but you know that you need help? You fear that you’ll risk losing custody of your children. While that may be the case temporarily, you’re doing what’s best for them in the long run.

Being around a parent with substance abuse issues can be potentially dangerous for a child physically and emotionally — particularly if that parent is now caring for them alone part of the time. You could risk neglecting their needs, driving under the influence with them or leaving drugs or alcohol where they can reach them.

Whatever your current custody agreement is with your co-parent, if you’re considering entering a rehab or detox program, it’s wise to discuss the ramifications of it with your family law attorney. They can help you take the steps you need to afterward as you work to be a better parent.

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