In Matters of Divorce and Child Custody
Substance abuse that may endanger a spouse or a child is treated seriously but compassionately in the Connecticut courts. Substance abuse includes alcohol abuse, abuse of prescription medication and the abuse of illegal drugs. The goal of the numerous programs available to spouses and parents is to rehabilitate substance abusers and protect children, not to punish a substance abuser or permanently remove children from the care of a parent. If your partner is abusing drugs or alcohol, or if you have been accused of abusing substances to the detriment of your children, you need experienced legal help.
What to do if your partner is a substance abuser?
If you are the victim of domestic violence where your partner is also a substance abuser, you can file a Relief from Abuse application in which the Court can grant you sole legal custody of your child, supervised or no visitation with the other parent, and temporary exclusive occupancy of the family home. You can also report the abuse to your local police department, which can result in the abuser being arrested and subject to a criminal protective order in which you could also be granted exclusive occupancy of the family home and other no-contact orders.
Oftentimes, substance abusers who become involved in the domestic violence part of the criminal court system are ordered to participate in programs such as drug rehabilitation and anger management, the goal of both programs which is to rehabilitate and reunite the family unit.
How can my substance abuse impact the custody of my children?
If the Court finds that your substance abuse impacts the health, welfare and safety of your child, it will likely issue orders setting parameters in place to ensure that your child is safe during your parenting time.
For instance, if you are arrested for driving while under the influence of alcohol, with or without your child, the Court may order you to use Soberlink (it uses facial recognition technology to confirm your identity prior to you blowing into a device that tests your blood alcohol level), an Ignition Interlock Device, or another alcohol monitoring protocol prior to driving with your child or exercising parenting time. You will likely be responsible for the full cost of the alcohol protocol, which can be costly.
The good news is that these protocols are put in place for safety and are not permanent. The length of time the protocol will be in place will be dependent on the history which resulted in the court order as well as the skill and expertise of your attorney in ensuring that you are treated fairly in ensuring that the protocol does not remain in place any longer than reasonably necessary.
Contact me for assistance
For a consultation regarding substance abuse issues in your divorce or child custody matter, please call my office at (203) 557-0557 or complete the contact form on this site. My office is conveniently located at 246 Post Road East in Westport, Connecticut.