The focus in every child custody case should be the best interests of the children involved. This means ensuring that the custody arrangement that is implemented protects their physical safety as well as their emotion and psychological well-being. That might sound simple enough, but these matters often become complicated given the emotions that are often involved in these disputes. That’s why you need to have a strong focus on the issues in play and how they directly speak to your children’s best interests. One of those issues that we see quite frequently is parental substance abuse.
The effects of parental substance abuse
Even with the decriminalization of certain drugs, parental substance abuse can still have a profound impact on children. Each of the following could fall on your child if he or she is exposed to parental substance abuse:
- Increased risk of abuse and neglect
- Poor school performance
- Behavioral issues
- Social isolation
- Anxiety and depression
- Increased risk of developing an addiction
- Lack of empathy
- Increased responsibility due to caretaker incapacitation
These effects can be severe and long-lasting, potentially impacting your child well into adulthood. This is unacceptable, which is why if you suspect that your children’s other parent is engaging in substance abuse while caring for your children, then you may want to take legal action to limit his or her access to them.
How to gather the evidence you need
There’s a lot that you can do to support your claim for a custody modification. You can gather police reports, criminal records, and witness accounts. You can even talk to your children about it if you know that they ‘ve seen certain things and it would be best for them to talk about it. A therapist may be able to help you here.
There’s a lot on the line in these child custody cases. That’s why you really shouldn’t just roll with the punches. Instead, you need to be prepared and armed with strong legal arguments to support your position. To learn more about how to develop that kind of legal strategy and what you can do to protect your children, consider reaching out to a team of family law professionals who will know how to fight for you and your children.