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Addiction and child custody after divorce

On Behalf of | Jul 21, 2021 | Divorce

In divorce cases that involve children, California courts must decide what is in the best interests of the youngsters. If you struggle with addiction or you’ve recently regained sobriety, there is a good chance that you may have a challenging time with receiving visitation or custody.

Understanding custody

During a divorce, the court system has to decide on legal and physical custody. Legal custody is decision-making power. Physical custody means where the child will live. The parent who does not receive physical custody typically receives visitation rights. In some cases, courts may award joint physical custody.

What is in the child’s best interests?

Because substance abuse or chemical dependency can put children at risk while in the guardianship of the parent with the problem, the court will typically make proof of sobriety a sticking point. Therefore, you may have to submit to regular and random drug tests.

In extreme cases, your ex may ask that you only receive visitation with supervision. Even though this is challenging for someone who is cleaning up their life, remember that you need to rebuild trust. Prove yourself trustworthy, and in due time, you might be able to request that the court modify the visitation order.

What happens if you have a setback?

The occasional setback is part of the healing process. If you can demonstrate immediate good-faith efforts to continue your program, the court may not hold the bump in your record against you. On the other hand, if this setback signals the beginning of a relapse, the court may strip you of any custody and visitation rights you enjoyed previously.

If you are a co-parent who used drugs or you are seeking a divorce from someone with a substance abuse history, it would probably be wise to discuss your custody concerns with a law firm.