The Effect of Substance Abuse on Custody

Effects of Substance Abuse on Child Custody

How to Navigate Substance Abuse in a Child Custody Case

Creating a parenting plan and time-sharing schedule that both parents agree on can be challenging. If parents cannot come to an agreement, the matter can be taken to court to be resolved. While in court, accusations of substance abuse may be brought up. Often, these allegations are made in an attempt to sway a judge’s ruling in the accuser’s favor.

Whether it’s ultimately founded or fabricated, the state of Florida court system will take the accusation seriously to make sure that no children are being put into a potentially unsafe situation.

Substance Abuse & Addiction Resources
If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA) provides free and confidential information for English and Spanish speaking individuals and family members facing substance abuse and mental health issues.

Once such an accusation has been made, the accuser will be asked to provide potential evidence, and regardless of who made the accusation, both parents will be required to take a drug test. A failed drug test does not automatically alter the current custody agreement. The state of Florida courts will also look at evidence showing a history of substance abuse and may appoint a Guardian Ad Litem for the child to impartially evaluate the situation.

The state of Florida strives to provide children of separated parents a stable living situation while encouraging both parents to be involved in the welfare and education of their children. If one or both parents have a history of substance abuse the courts will evaluate the risk of harm to the child and if the parents are willing to take a proactive approach to overcoming their addiction.

If it has been determined that the current custody agreement puts the child in a potentially dangerous situation, the time-sharing and parenting plan can be altered to limit visitation or require supervised visitation. These changes do not have to be permanent if the parent can prove that they are taking steps to end their addiction the courts will reevaluate the situation to determine if unrestricted visitation can be re-instated.