Getting or Keeping Custody: Drug and Alcohol Abuse
For the parent dealing with the child’s other parent and alcohol and drug abuse issues, a separation of the parties may lead to a great deal of concern for the child’s safety when in the other parent’s care. If a parent has been accused of abusing drugs or alcohol, he or she may be facing the loss of custody, restricted or no visitation rights, and onerous drug and alcohol testing.
The first step in approaching a drug or alcohol case is proving or disproving that a parent has an addiction problem. There are a wide variety of methods of accomplishing this, and there are even more ways to do a poor job in proving this. Of course, it is best to have a drug or alcohol test which either shows or disproves substance abuse. However, even drug and alcohol testing can be difficult to understand, and it takes experienced attorneys to be able to interpret the results and present the conclusions of the results to a judge or jury. For example, if testing for an illegal drug, it is important that a judge not just orders urine tests, but additionally order hair and nail tests. Hair and nail drug tests will, according to the experts, test a six-month history of drug usage while urine tests only test a short period and rarely detect alcohol or drug usage.
With regards to alcohol testing, there is very little reliable testing with regards to testing for prior usage. However, significant advances have been made to test for the presence of alcohol in a parent’s system at the time of the test. For example, many judges are ordering portable breathalyzers to be used by a parent who has abused alcohol. These breathalyzers can test at random or scheduled increments and can be carried by a parent at all times, much like a cell phone.
Once it has been proven that a parent has a drug or alcohol problem, it is next necessary to convince a judge what type of visits should be put into effect to protect the child or children. If a judge believes a parent has a drug or alcohol problem, often that judge will order supervised visits. If a parent is supervised during his or her visits, this arrangement will most likely continue until that parent can prove continued sobriety.
Should you have concerns about your child or children’s parent’s alcohol or drug abuse, it is extremely important to hire an attorney who has experience dealing with these issues. Likewise, if you have been accused of having a drug or alcohol problem, it is important to hire an attorney who can defend your rights as there are a wide variety of legal consequences that can result from such an accusation.
The attorneys at Walters Gilbreath, PLLC have prosecuted and defended alcohol and drug abuse cases. We have experience in proving and disproving a problem and setting up and presenting drug and alcohol monitoring solutions. For more information, please visit our website.