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When your child's other parent is a substance abuser

If you have reason to believe your child's other parent may be abusing drugs, you probably have concerns about the level of care your son or daughter is receiving during his or her time with that parent. Maybe your child is young and you worry about him or her finding and potentially ingesting substances he or she should not, or maybe you worry about your former partner driving your child around while under the influence.

Regardless of your specific concerns, know that parental drug abuse can impact your child's other parent's ability to maintain visitation and custody. Whether parental drug abuse will ultimately affect these areas will likely vary to some extent based on the type of drug abused, the length of the parent's addiction and so on. Here is a closer look at how drug abuse can impact your former partner's ability to parent.

Drug abuse and visitation

If a court becomes aware of a parent abusing substances, the court may suspend visitation rights for the drug-abusing parent until he or she effectively completes treatment or until he or she maintains sobriety for a given period. In some cases, if the substance abuser seeks immediate help, the court may allow him or her supervised visits with your child.

Drug abuse and custody

Regardless of where you, your child and your child's other parent live, you can assume that a court will consider what would be in the best interests of your child before rendering any custody-related decisions. In most cases, a parent struggling with substance abuse issues does not meet these criteria, meaning he or she may lose custody as a result of drug abuse.

Please note that every family law situation is different, and there are few one-size-fits-all solutions when it comes to such matters. In extreme situations where prolonged substance abuse is apparent, your child's other parent may lose parental rights completely.

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