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How can substance abuse affect child custody?

On Behalf of | Jul 29, 2021 | Child Custody |

Getting divorced in New York can bring about lots of new changes in your life. Whether it’s a new problem or one you already knew about, having a spouse going through substance abuse issues can make life after a divorce difficult for everyone involved.

What should you do if your ex-spouse has a substance abuse problem?

If you think that your former spouse has a substance abuse problem, it’s a good idea to mention this matter to the court. The court will expect there to be some evidence backing up your claim.

Some examples of evidence would be past drug-related charges or copies of police reports. It can also strengthen your claim if your evidence supports that the other parent’s substance abuse makes them an unsuitable parent.

How the court deals with substance abuse-related matters

Considering the seriousness of substance use around children, courts typically take immediate action to investigate these situations. The first step is for a judge to schedule an investigation of the parent in question. If there is a history of a parent abusing drugs, a court will also consider this while making child custody arrangements.

What happens if the court finds out about a substance abuse problem after custody arrangements became final? If this is the case, a judge has the right to alter this parent’s visitation arrangements. It’s also possible for the court to order that this parent complete supervised visitations with their children.

As a parent, you understandably want your child to always be in a safe environment. However, being around a parent with a substance abuse problem can put a child’s safety in jeopardy. After informing the court of another parent’s substance abuse, the court will likely start an official investigation that could have an impact on custody orders.