Most people hope that they can settle their child custody disputes amicably. In many instances, though, this simply isn’t possible. The parties can differ in what they think is in the child’s best interests, and many times parents deny some of the accusations leveled against them as they pertain to parental fitness. When this is the case, you need to be prepared for litigation. This means gathering evidence and developing a legal strategy that speaks directly to the best interests of your child.
The effects of parental substance abuse
One option that might be available to you is to show the other parent’s substance abuse and what that has or could do to your child. Parental substance abuse is all too common, and the results can be tragic. Research has shown that a child’s exposure to parental drug use can result in any of the following:
- Increased risk of abuse or neglect
- Stress related to taking on a parental role when the parent is unable to do so
- Poor cognitive and social development
- Emotional development issues
- Increased risk of substance abuse
- Poor school performance
And this is just the start. Parental substance abuse can have short- and long-term affects that can put your child’s safety and wellbeing at risk.
Proving parental substance abuse
There might be a lot of ways to prove parental substance abuse. Your child might have observed it and can testify to it, but you probably want to keep you child out of the dispute as much as possible. Criminal records and even statements made directly to you can be powerful evidence, but so, too, can observations of the other parent’s behavior. Your child’s therapist or mental health professional might also prove beneficial here.
Be prepared with a holistic case
If you think that substance abuse is an issue in your case, then the chances are that there are other issues at play, too. You shouldn’t overlook any of them. In fact, you also need to be prepared to defend yourself against attacks against your character and your parental fitness. This is no small thing to do, which is why you might want to work closely with a family law attorney who knows how to fight for you and, more importantly, your children during a child custody dispute.