Substance Abuse and Child Custody

Last Updated : April 18, 2024

In a child custody case, any substance abuse problems for either parent can be a major deciding factor in the proceedings. The excessive use of drugs and alcohol can result in erratic behavior and may create a dangerous environment for the child or children in question. The family law attorneys of Arenson Law Group, PC are knowledgeable about the laws surrounding child custody and are dedicated to protecting the rights and livelihoods of our clients. If you are facing a child custody dispute related to possible substance abuse issues, please feel free to get in touch with a member of our legal team.

The Dangers of Substance Abuse Problems and Children

A parent with substance abuse problems may not be fit to care for a child for a number of reasons, including the following:

  • The possibility for a child to be exposed to illegal substances
  • Possible neglect or abuse due to erratic behavior
  • Increased potential for the presence of criminals in the household
  • Increased probability of driving with the child while under the influence

All of these possible consequences can dramatically affect the health and well-being of a child. As such, the court system allows worried parents to voice their concerns.

A parent participating in a custody case should know, however, that the use of drugs or alcohol alone is unlikely to result in an order of supervised visitation for the parent using the substance. If you suspect that the other parent is using drugs, document your observations to the best of your ability. You may wish to keep a journal or log of the times you know the other parent has used drugs or alcohol. Proof that the parent uses alcohol or drugs around the child will weigh more heavily against the child being placed with them than if the parent only uses when the child is not present, has only used on a few occasions, or used drugs or alcohol a long time ago.

If you had a substance abuse problem in the past, that doesn’t mean that your child will be kept from you. The judge will want to see that you have taken accountability and have taken steps, such as attending counseling and or/treatment, to remedy the issue. You should be able to prove that you no longer abuse drugs or alcohol and can provide a safe and stable environment for the child.

Contact a Family Law Attorney

At Arenson Law Group, PC, we understand that child custody cases are often arduous and emotionally charged. Our talented attorneys are here to ensure that any disputes are resolved as quickly and fairly as possible. Please call us at (319) 363-8199 to discuss your legal options with a Cedar Rapids attorney today.