As a California parent involved in a custody dispute, you might be concerned with the way substance abuse might affect the outcome. In some cases, struggling with substance abuse might lead to the loss of custody. This usually depends on the way it affects the child’s safety and stability.
How can substance abuse affect a child’s well-being?
A parent’s substance abuse struggles can affect the well-being of the child. If the parent’s use or abuse of substances prevents them from properly caring for their child, they will be at risk of losing custody. All custody decisions are made with the best interests of the child as the standard, and a parent who is negligent or violent due to their substance abuse struggles does not meet this standard.
What is the process if a parent is suspected of substance abuse?
If the abuse is brought up during the initial child custody hearing, the court will normally have the matter investigated before making a decision. This might include looking at a parent’s history of substance abuse as well as each parent’s parenting skills.
However, if custody has already been established and the court believes the substance abuse allegations are true, there are several actions the court might take. These actions include:
- Modifying the custody order to limit contact between the parent and the child
- Ordering supervised visitation with the non-custodial parent if this is the parent who struggles with substance abuse
- Requiring the parent to go through a rehabilitation program and ordering that supervised visitation continues until the program is completed
If you are concerned about your child’s other parent abusing or misusing substances, you should gather all evidence to support your allegations and how their behavior puts the child at risk. You can then bring your concerns to the court where custody was established or to your local Department of Child Protective Services.