How the law looks at substance abuse during a divorce

Laura Wasser, Family Law Attorney, shares advice for parents on how the law looks at substance abuse during a divorce and the best way of handling it before a divorce hearing
Divorce And Children | Substance Abuse During A Divorce
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How the law looks at substance abuse during a divorce

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If you have a spouse or ex-spouse who has substance abuse issues and those concern you, that’s definitely something to discuss. Before you get to a point where you’re compiling evidence to show to a court, I would speak to your partner or your ex about the substance abuse problems or concerns that you have. It might be a good idea to have that conversation with someone else in the room, perhaps a mental health professional. If you guys weren’t able to work your marriage out, you should be able to figure out a way to work out your divorce or your separation. And if it’s a substance abuse issue and your concerns are for the safety of your kid that should be something that he or she is willing to listen to. Before you start compiling evidence to present to a court, I would address it with the individual that you think is having a problem, keeping in mind that most courts want children to have relationships with both of their parents. Even if the parent has a substance abuse problem, courts are probably not going to take custody away completely. They will put protective measures in place – a monitor, supervised custody, somebody that makes sure that the parent is never driving in a car with children or isn’t in impaired state with the children. But that relationship with the parent is more important than – as long as there is the safety protective measures in place – than taking it away. So if you are thinking about doing something regarding substance abuse and you’re doing it for reasons that are other than you’re genuine concern for the well-being and safety of your children, weigh that against what it’s going to do to your children if you take away their relationship with their father or mother. Know that courts usually are not inclined to take that relationship away as if there is a way that you can figure out some way around this problem or what you perceive to be a problem.
ALL PARENTS, Divorce, Co-Parenting

Laura Wasser, Family Law Attorney, shares advice for parents on how the law looks at substance abuse during a divorce and the best way of handling it before a divorce hearing

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Laura Wasser

Family Law Attorney

Laura has been a family law practitioner for nearly 20 years. Her practice focuses on the separation and reconfiguration of families. Being a child of divorce, and having personal and professional experience in this field, she believes that she can do better for the children of today and help with an oxymoron: a “good divorce”. Laura is the author of It Doesn't Have to be That Way: How to Divorce Without Destroying Your Family or Bankrupting Yourself.

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