On behalf of The Law Office of Gustavo E. Frances, P.A.
If you are worried about your former spouse’s drug or alcohol use around your children, you can find legal ways to protect your children from this toxic environment. Courts generally get involved during a child custody hearing or when complaints are reported to the state. It is important you take action if you believe that your child is in danger. A Fort Lauderdale child custody and visitation attorney can investigate the matter and determine the best course of action. If the parent’s addictive behavior affects his or her ability to care for the children, the judge may evaluate your case and make a new child custody and visitation agreement.
How the court may respond
If the court determines that your complaint is valid, the judge may restrict your ex’s contact with the children, and the visitation or custody agreement will be altered. Sometimes the judge orders supervised visitation so that the parent struggling with substance abuse can see the child in a supervised setting. Social workers and family are generally involved in these types of cases. The visitation may remain supervised until the parent shows signs of improvement such as participating in a rehab program, attending therapy sessions, or any other substance abuse treatment program he or she may choose.
How to handle your ex’s behavior
If you are worried about your ex’s addiction and your child’s safety, there are some steps you can take to document what’s happening. Whether you use a police report, DUI charges or any other piece of evidence, it is important you keep the record of all the incidents that may render your former spouse unsuitable. You can file a restraining order or stop visitation if you have fear of harm. This is a valid legal reason to refuse visitation with the other parent. But you need evidence that will prove to the judge you have a valid reason.
Alcohol and substance abuse
Untreated alcoholism can create a dangerous environment for your children. Florida child custody law protects children from such toxic environment. Each parent should maintain an environment free from alcohol abuse and substance abuse. Impairment due to substance abuse is similar to alcohol abuse impairment in so many ways. Cocaine and narcotic abuse are overwhelming problems in Florida right now. Prescription pills such as oxycodone and hydrocodone can change the individual’s perception, mood, and concentration levels while cocaine abusers may experience severe depression and paranoia.
Physical abuse and psychological issues
If the abusive behavior persists leading to police intervention, a restraining order can be filed to restrain the abuser from contacting you or your children. Some parents don’t report domestic abuse to their attorney and expose their children to this unsafe environment. If you believe your former spouse is not acting in your children’s best interest, contact a Fort Lauderdale family law attorney today and schedule your initial case evaluation. You are responsible to provide and maintain a safe environment for your children.