Substance abuse is a continuing problem that many families struggle with. If you are considering divorce and are concerned about your spouse’s drug or alcohol use around the children, you are likely uneasy about your kids spending extended time with your ex following a divorce.
You may have endured emotional or even physical abuse during the marriage when your spouse was using drugs or alcohol and have concerns about your kids being targeted when you are not there. You may feel that your spouse will not provide adequate supervision during visits or that he or she will influence an older child negatively through their example.
These are all valid concerns that a court will take into consideration when determining parenting time (custody and visitation) and parenting responsibility (legal custody). The best interest of the child is paramount and, if substance abuse hinders a parent’s ability to care for his or her child or poses a danger to the child’s well-being, a judge will act to protect the child.
Order of Protection
If there is a preponderance of evidence that your spouse is indeed engaged in conduct harmful to the mental, moral or physical health of a child, including drug and alcohol abuse, the court will enter orders to protect the child.
In some cases, a restraining order will be issued to limit a parent’s communication or proximity to the child and the other parent. If parenting time is awarded despite a history of problems, a court may require third party supervision during visits with the child and will likely require the parent to attend a drug and alcohol treatment program to continue a relationship with the child.
Of course, the court strives to be responsive to changes in a family’s circumstances. If your spouse’s drug and alcohol abuse persists or returns after a period of sobriety, the parent’s rights can be reduced, adjusted or eliminated altogether depending on the circumstances. If there is an improvement in the situation, the court may consider increasing parenting time and responsibility if it is in the best interest of the child.
Contact an Experienced Child Custody Lawyer
If you have concerns regarding parenting time arrangements because your spouse or ex-spouse has a substance abuse problem, it is important to discuss it with your family law attorney to help you to find a way forward that is in the best interest of the child. Contact the Libertyville, Illinois Family Law Offices of Schlesinger & Strauss LLC for assistance with your family law matter today. We have helped many clients through the difficult issues that arise when a parent has substance abuse issues and will work with you to find the best resolution for your family.