Most custody matters result in both parents spending time with their children. Although 50/50 custody isn’t always a practical solution, relatively equal parenting time is a common request when those with minor children divorce or separate. In most contentious family situations, judges creating custody orders want to keep both parents actively involved with their children and will, therefore, try to give both parents plenty of time with the children and a say in their upbringing.
However, the division of parental rights and responsibilities should always focus on what is in the best interests of the children. Factors including substance abuse issues might mean that one parent’s unsupervised time with the children puts them at risk. If the other parent wants to protect the children, they will typically need documentation to support their claims of substance abuse issues.
Most addiction leaves a paper trail
Whether a parent consumes alcohol on a daily basis or has become dependent on narcotic painkillers, supporting that habit probably costs quite a bit of money. Frequently, bank statements and credit card records can help corroborate claims that one parent frequently overindulges at bars or that they make large cash withdrawals in order to purchase controlled or prohibited substances on the unregulated market.
Police reports can also be an important form of evidence when establishing a pattern of intoxication and the often-unpredictable behavior that chemical impairment provokes. There may also be medical records, ranging from prior, failed counseling attempts to a hospitalization after someone injures themselves or consumes enough to put their health at risk. Even witness statements from neighbors and coworkers could help show that someone has an issue with abusing alcohol or drugs that would make their time with the children reason for concern.
Protecting the children should always be the top priority
Ideally, a parent who has issues with substance abuse would recognize that they need to undergo treatment to allow them to spend as much time with their children as they might like. Unfortunately, denial is a common response to addiction.
Even someone who truly loves their children may not be able to put their best interests first when it comes to their abuse of their substance of choice. The parent who is concerned about how the actions of the other could endanger the children well it needs to plan carefully when addressing custody matters in court to avoid accusations of interference in the relationship that the other parent has with the children.
Seeking legal guidance and having solid documentation can make it easier for people to secure a positive outcome in a complicated child custody dispute.