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How substance abuse can impact child custody

On Behalf of | Apr 8, 2021 | Child Custody |

Divorced parents who abuse substances like drugs or alcohol risk the chance of losing custody of their children. When it comes to child custody in Virginia, the courts always make decisions in keeping what are determined to be the best interests of the children. It is never considered appropriate to leave a child in the care of a parent who has serious issues with substance abuse.

Evidence used to prove abuse

If a parent who has temporary custody of his or her children is found to be abusing drugs or alcohol and the court is notified, a family court judge may change the custody order immediately. To prove an issue exists with substance abuse, the other parent could provide proof in the form of DUI convictions or police reports regarding his or her former partner. If the parent who has abuse problems does not have custody, the parent who does may have the right to refuse visitation if they fear the child may be in danger.

Can custody ever be regained?

If a parent has lost custody because of abusing substances he or she may be able to regain that custody with appropriate proof — such as having completed a rehabilitation program and showing the court the motivation to stay sober. The parent may be required to undergo drug tests to show the court he or she is trying to be the best parent possible. Courts usually consider it best when children have relationships with both of their parents, but the safety of the kids always comes first.

Virginia residents working toward gaining or regaining child custody need to understand the steps involved in the process. It is important to have as much information as possible regarding child custody. The best person to whom in these cases can turn, is to a lawyer experienced in family law.