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How drug and alcohol accusations affect child custody cases

Drug and alcohol abuse can affect child custody rulings. Issues of excessive use of illegal or nonprescribed drugs not only taint the image of the other parent but can also dictate the type of legal wedge placed between parent and children.

Family law decisions rely heavily on what is in the best interest of a child. Therefore, the legal system is designed to seek the truth whenever accusations of drug and alcohol abuse are made. Evaluations are performed by conducting various tests to reveal what has been consumed by the accused parent and how long ago.

Common testing methods

  • Urinalysis. Reveals most recent consumption
  • Hair sample. History of ingestion; two weeks to three months
  • Nail sample. Longest history; two weeks to more than six months
  • Breath testing. Breathalyzer screens for alcohol presence
  • Blood testing. Panels test for various illegal drugs both common and uncommon

If a parent tests positive for drugs or alcohol, the court can decide how this could negatively influence the level of care the child needs.

When a court chooses to withhold custody of a child due to drug or alcohol abuse, custody orders may be restricted completely or modified with supervision in place, depending on what the tests reveal and what the court determines.

Making changes

For a court to reconsider a child custody ruling after substance abuse is found, significant changes are needed to regain trust. One way to do this is to make a sincere and consistent change. Self-evaluation of your role and influence as a parent can help set you on the path to regaining the custody you seek.

Change can start with a simple search for local resources and community support groups that develop the healthy and stable influences needed for long-term success. Positive and lasting changes are attainable when you do not give up.

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