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Preventing your addicted spouse from gaining custody

When parents break up, they may have a difficult time separating their own desires from those decisions that are in the best interests of the children. Fortunately, the courts keep the well-being of the children foremost in their decisions, and this often means dividing parenting time as evenly as possible.

Under most circumstances, this may be a comfort to you. In many breakups, parents may agree that their own resentment toward their exes clouds their understanding that the children love both their parents and that the other parent may be a fit and loving mom or dad. However, if your ex has a substance abuse problem, you may have serious concerns about the outcome of a custody hearing.

Convincing the court

If you are preparing for a custody case against your alcohol or drug addicted ex, you may think it will be easy to convince a judge that your ex is unfit to parent the children. However, it is not always that simple. While no California court wants to place a child in harm's way, a parent who can convince the court that he or she is working to get clean and sober may obtain some custody or visitation rights with certain restrictions, such as supervision or random drug tests.

Protecting your child from a spouse who abuses drugs or alcohol is for their emotional health as well as their physical safety. It may mean providing the court with evidence that your ex's addiction places the children in danger. For example, you may present the court with the following information:

  • Records of DUI arrests or accidents
  • Police reports from calls for disturbances or arrests related to your spouse's intoxication
  • Emergency room records from injuries your spouse or children suffered as a result of your spouse's drug or alcohol use
  • Witness accounts of your ex's risky or negligent behavior
  • Your own log of times when your ex could not manage the children safely because of his or her addiction

If the court should grant custody or visitation to your ex, you may have grave concerns, especially if you recognize the signs of impairment during the exchange of the children. If you fear for your children's safety, you may have a valid reason for denying your ex court ordered time with the children. However, it would be wise to contact your attorney to learn about your options to avoid legal ramifications.

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Law Offices of Catherine A. Schwartz
6877 Magnolia Avenue
Riverside, CA 92506

Phone: 951-335-0510
Fax: 951-686-8195
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