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How does a parent’s addiction affect child custody decisions?

On Behalf of | Sep 2, 2022 | Family Law

Addiction is tough enough of a battle to face, but when you add a child custody case, the uncertainty can be overwhelming. While Indiana family law courts may restrict or remove your custody rights due to your addiction, the courts consider many factors before making their decision.

Does your addiction affect daily tasks?

Family law judges consider at your ability to function as a parent on a daily basis. When looking at your ability to provide for your child, courts examine these traits:

• Fulfilling school obligations

• Remaining employed

• Staying out of legal trouble

• Continuing to use illegal substances

• Keeping yourself and your child safe from harm

Are you seeking recovery?

Most family courts work with a variety of professionals when deciding custody cases. The long-term goal typically involves helping parents with substance abuse disorders reunite with their children in a safe and stable environment. If you seek recovery, that may be a positive factor in your custody case. When looking at your recovery, the courts may examine the following factors:

• Completion of a treatment program

• Willingness to undergo drug tests

• Enrollment in aftercare programs

• Understanding of how parents’ substance abuse affects children

Can substance abuse alter a previous custody agreement?

Many substance abuse discussions occur during a divorce, prior to any formal custody decisions being made. In other instances, a parent may begin abusing substances after a formal custody agreement has already been reached. In these cases, evidence of substance abuse can result in altering or restricting custody. Supervised visitations may be enforced for parents struggling with substance abuse.

Are substance abuse custody decisions permanent?

Losing custody of your child due to your substance abuse can be devastating. But parents who are able to gain control of their addiction, seek recovery and stay sober often regain custody rights of their children.