Will a substance abuse disorder influence child custody?

| May 21, 2020 | Custody & Visitation

When Minnesota courts rule on custody, the well-being of your children is one of the primary concerns. 

If you or your spouse struggles with drug or alcohol dependency, a judge must ensure that the substance-dependent parent can maintain a safe environment for the kids, according to Psychology Today. 

The dependent parent 

If you are currently suffering a substance abuse disorder, likely, a judge will not consider granting custody unless you are actively participating in a treatment program. It is essential that you comply with all of your recovery requirements and show documentation as you work toward sobriety. Expect the courts to place contingencies like random drug testing on your custody arrangement. 

If you have demonstrated ongoing sobriety, you may still face a judge who wishes to employ safeguards until you can prove a successful recovery, even if your struggle is long in the past. Your diligent and willing adherence to court orders is usually the quickest way to remove any restrictions or conditions. 

The non-dependent parent 

Substance abuse may have had a devastating effect on your marriage and your emotional health. However, if your spouse is making an effort to overcome the addiction or demonstrate continued sobriety, showing your full support for his or her success is likely your best strategy. Most judges can accurately gauge your spouse’s commitment to recovery, and attempts to use his or her addiction to boost your side of a custody dispute could backfire badly. If you show an inclination to co-parent fairly, it will likely bring a more favorable custody arrangement, not to mention foster your child’s happiness and aid a successful recovery from addiction.