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Fighting addiction while seeking custody?

On Behalf of | Apr 18, 2024 | Child Custody

If you are a parent who is going through a divorce and you are simultaneously battling an addiction to drugs and/or alcohol, you’re on a rough road. Divorce is hard enough without adding the myriad problems that come with trying to address addiction.

Since your substance abuse can definitely factor in any decision that the court makes regarding your child custody arrangements, the following information may be helpful for you.

The best interests of the child

Maryland family law courts’ custody decisions are guided by the best interests of the child(ren). Not every parent who takes drugs is unfit, e.g., pain management patients who take daily dosages of strong narcotics to be able to function but who still parent effectively.

However, the child’s welfare could be jeopardized if parental substance use results in one or more adverse consequences, like the following:

  • Placing yourself or the children in harm’s way or exposing them to unnecessary risks, such as drunk driving or other reckless acts, or placing them in unsafe situations.
  • Neglecting obligations at home, school, work or to the children.
  • Using drugs or alcohol even after suffering negative consequences.
  • Having legal problems due to substance abuse (arrested for possession or DUI).

These are not the only negative consequences that could jeopardize your unrestricted custody of or visitation with your children. 

Be proactive and seek help

It takes bravery to admit that you need help. If you are a parent with substance abuse issues who is involved in a contested divorce, you must assume that your soon-to-be ex will attempt to use that against you in your custody fight.

Your argument for custody will be bolstered if you are actively taking steps to address your addiction, such as being involved in a treatment program, attending AA/NA meetings, or other therapy to address the issue.