Drug abuse is a serious problem. Drugs can make an individual unreliable, careless and reckless, to mention a few. Clearly, these are not the qualities you are looking for in a co-parent.
If your co-parent is abusing drugs, you are likely concerned, especially if they are doing so in the presence of your child. But can this be grounds for withholding custody?
Your options when your co-parent is abusing drugs.
The truth is substance abuse can greatly impact a parent’s ability to care for the child. However, you cannot unilaterally halt their custody or visitation rights. If you do, they may accuse you of interfering with the custody order – and you don’t want this. Fortunately, your hands are not tied.
You may petition the court to modify the existing custody order.
It’s the court’s job to determine the child’s living arrangements after the divorce. When petitioning the court for custody modification, however, the court will look at any evidence that your ex is actually abusing drugs. This might include:
- Repeat drunk driving charges and convictions.
- Evidence of drug-related arrests and charges
- Evidence of admission into a drug rehabilitation program
- Social welfare reports and eyewitness accounts
Based on the evidence, the court will consider your request for custody modification in the best interests of the child. Subject to their physical and mental situation, the court may modify the existing custody order so that you are granted sole custody. Your ex may be granted supervised visitation or none at all in those situations.
The family court takes the best interests of the child very seriously. If you are concerned about your ex’s drug problems, do not take matters into your own hands. Petitioning the court for custody modification can be a great place to start.