Child custody disputes can be highly contentious. Even if you find a workable resolution to your child custody dispute, the conversation is not necessarily over. An existing custody order can be modified at any time if there has been a material change in circumstances and changing the custody order is in the child’s best interest.
How exposure to parental substance abuse may be harming your child
While there are a number of issues that could justify a custody modification, one problem we see is parental substance abuse. Millions of Americans struggle with substance abuse, and far too often, children are caught in the middle of addiction. Exposure to parental substance abuse can have a tremendous impact on your child. Children who are exposed to parental substance abuse can experience anxiety, depression, behavioral issues, poor school performance. Critically, those kids have an increased risk of developing a substance use disorder themselves.
Keep in mind that these negative implications can be severe and long-lasting, sometimes even stretching into adulthood. If your child has been subjected to parental substance abuse, you can take action to protect them.
Preparing to file your motion to modify custody
If you think that your child’s exposure to parental substance abuse has put them at risk, your lawyer can file a motion to modify custody or visitation so that you can protect your child’s best interests. Before you file that motion, you should secure evidence that supports your request.
Your own observations of your child’s behavior can be key here, so make sure to take notes when you notice something off. You might also consider doing the following:
- Ask questions about your child’s behaviors and demeanor;
- Talk to the other parent about your concerns, making sure to write down their responses;
- Search for substance abuse-related police reports and criminal cases;
- Talk to family and friends who may have seen your child exposed to substance abuse or observed other impacts of such exposure;
- Talk to your child’s therapist about your child’s behaviors
- Obtain your child’s school and medical records; or
- Secure drug screen results from the other parent.
There are many steps you can take to build your case for a custody modification, so be diligent and thorough. After all, there is no such thing as having too much evidence. If you run into issues securing the information that you need to build your case, you might want to reach out to your attorney for assistance.
Don’t leave your child’s well-being to chance
Many people who find themselves dealing with a custody dispute want to avoid conflict as much as possible. But sometimes, conflict is unavoidable. Even though that may be stressful, it may be necessary to protect your child from present and future harm.
This process is not one that you have to face alone. You can seek out help from an experienced family law attorney who will know how to gather evidence and present the strong legal arguments to advocate for your child’s best interests.