The Role of Addiction in Custody Disputes

I am often asked what, if any, is the role addiction plays in a custody dispute.  In the 21st century, it seems addiction is playing an increasing role in all facets of human existence, especially with regard to the health, safety and welfare of children.

My focus is of course on my clients and their relationship with their children.  For example, what if my client is suffering the agonizing problem of addiction?

Seemingly, when the father of the children at one time suffered from dependency issues, the courts never forget it.  On the hand, the woman in the case (be it the ex-wife or even the ex-girlfriend) gets a pass. The reasons for this are many.  Men are suspect by the system anyway, and my focus is for the limited purpose of painting men in somewhat sympathetic or congenial tone.

When a man is addicted, and this concerns alcohol as well, it is a good idea to immediately check in to a certified rehabilitation program.    Any recognized rehabilitation clinic will perform an assessment on you to do a realistic program that will fulfill your needs.  Typically, this will involve Alcoholic’s Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous, some classwork, and brutal self -accountability.  This will help me present you in the correct way.  You are recognizing a problem and doing something about it.

Document everything.   In other words, get notes from each meeting you attend of Alcoholic’s Anonymous or Narcotic’s Anonymous so you can present it in Court.  Keep a journal outlining your meetings and any contact with the rehabilitation center.

When the ex-wife or ex-girlfriend moves the court for a hair follicle test, it is a good idea, depending upon your drug of choice, to buy some time.   If the drug of choice is in then form of painkillers, opiates or heroin, delay the filing of your petition by 30 days.  This assumes, of course you are in complete abstinence.  In the event ex-wife or ex-girlfriend files her petition to establish custody, there is a way to buy time through your attorney.

This reminds me of a real situation.  I filed a petition for change of custody on behalf of a father, whose ex-wife is a heroin and opiate addict.   I then immediately filed for a hair follicle test. She enlisted the help of her identical twin to take the test instead of the subject of the custody dispute.  Of course she passed with flying colors.  The judge passed my arguments off as the paranoid musings of an attorney, and eventually made her take it again.  She did not pass it a second time.

There are several rehabilitation clinics, which will permit out patient treatment.  Further, insurance is an issue.  Make sure you are up to date on your insurance coverage and have a clear understanding of what is covered before you go through a lengthy intake process.

To conclude this topic, you have to listen to your attorney.   I personally have 32 years of experience getting custody for fathers.  If success is paramount to you, trust in the people who have been through the court battles. Contact me today to get started on your case.

Office Hours
9 A.M. - 5 P.M.