Will My Prior Substance Abuse Affect My Child Custody?

Substance Abuse

When entering a divorce or child custody dispute, every parent worries about the resulting custody arrangement and what factors the court will take into account, when determining the same. Some parents fear the effect that their past will have on their time spent with their child, as well as the limitations it may place on their parental rights. If you are a parent with a criminal history or previous addictive behaviors that you fear may affect your child custody battle, contact a Florida Child Custody Attorney today. We can discuss with you the elements surrounding your specific case and explain the process the court takes when determining a child custody arrangement.

When formulating any timesharing or custody arrangement involving the care and well being of a child, the court is required to assess each plan under the best interest of the child standard. This standard is laid out in Florida statute 61.13. Along with factors such as, “the moral fitness of the parents and the mental and physical health of the parents,” the court also will consider “the demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to maintain an environment for the child which is free from substance abuse.” Therefore, if the court is presented with evidence regarding your substance abuse, the court will take action to determine if such substance abuse is present, if the parent is a past addict and is involved in a rehabilitation program, if the parent poses a danger to the child, or is unable to properly care for their child. If the court finds any of these above concerns to be true, they may limit your visitation, provide for supervised visitation, or completely remove visitation altogether if they find that such extreme danger to the child exists.

However, to combat these concerns you have avenues in which you may argue your case. If you are no longer involved in this risky lifestyle, it will be important to present evidence to the judge of your sober living and clean lifestyle. If necessary, we can call upon your physicians or psychologists to testify on your behalf. We may also present evidence of a successful completion of a rehabilitation program and continued treated. Further, you may voluntarily submit to drug testing if you wish to, present scientific evidence of your clean living. Without proper basis for concern regarding your ability to parent your child, the court will have no foundation to limit your timesharing with your child.

If you fear your previous history with substance abuse may affect your child custody case, find a Florida Child Custody Attorney who will fight for you to protect your rights to your child. We are experienced family law attorneys and will be able to walk you through this difficult process and compile evidence to present to the court displaying your ability to properly care for your child, outside of your difficult past.

Speaking to an attorney at our Florida office is free of charge, and we accept calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Contact us at 850-307-5211 or complete an online contact form to get in touch with a member of our team today.

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