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The extent of the drug crisis in the United States has overwhelmed the criminal courts.

It's also having an effect on family courts as well, as concerned parents go into court alleging that their ex-spouse has developed a drug addiction and is endangering the custody of their child.

Unfortunately, that's something that the courts really can't avoid in order to adequately protect the children involved. If you're sharing custody with your ex and you believe that his or her drug use is affecting your child's safety and care, that's the proper place to turn for a resolution.

Here's what you should know:

  • If necessary, call the police to prevent your ex from taking his or her turn at custody if you see obvious signs that your ex is high when he or she arrives.
  • If you refuse to allow your ex his or her turn with your child, make sure that you contact your attorney promptly to explain why. If you don't report the issue, your ex could turn it around on you and allege that you interfered with the court's custody order for no good reason.
  • If you have to, report the situation to Children's Services. Make sure that you only file a report if you are certain -- you don't want to be accused of harassing your ex-spouse.
  • Ask the court to take action. The court can order drug testing and an evaluation of the other parent's ability to be an effective parent.

If the court determines that your ex-spouse is, in fact, addicted to drugs, the court can order your ex into a treatment program and restrict his or her visitation to supervised-only until he or she overcomes the problem.

Even if you are sympathetic to your ex-spouse's addiction, but you must keep your child's safety in mind. A child custody modification order may be the only way you can help your ex-spouse and protect your child at the same time.

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