Are you in a child custody suit while battling drug and alcohol dependency? Reinstating your parental rights may hinge on completing an inpatient substance abuse program. It’s challenging to confront addiction while fighting to keep custody of your children. Participating in an inpatient substance abuse program may impress the court to reinstate visitation and custody rights.
What if you are postponing treatment because you have no one to care for your children for a while? Your dependency on drugs or alcohol may adversely affect your parental rights. If you’re in hot water with Children’s Services or the court, then here are some things you should know.
<strong>The Best Interest of The Child</strong>
Children with addicted parents are more apt to suffer neglect and other abuse. Forty-seven states in this country have laws concerning addicted parents and child custody. Some of these state laws consider parental substance abuse a form of child abuse. This is especially true if you are unable to provide adequate care for your children or if you allow illegal drug activities in the home.
You may have limited supervised custody or lose visitation rights all together if you are arrested on substance abuse charges. Other reasons may include failing a drug test with pending allegations of neglect or abuse. If you were involved in a separation or divorce case, failing a drug test could also forfeit your custody rights.
While the courts generally want to keep families together, they will consider the best interest of the child, and they will decide accordingly. Even if you lose visitation or custody rights because of substance abuse, completing an inpatient treatment program may help to reunify you and your child.
<strong>How Inpatient Treatment Affects Custody Decisions</strong>
The court may grant custody to your non-addicted spouse or relative while you complete an inpatient treatment program. Most successful programs can last anywhere from one to six months, along with additional time for outpatient aftercare therapy. Although it may seem like a long time to be separated from your children, completing a substance abuse program may demonstrate your commitment to sobriety to the court.
Most courts will look favorably on you if you have completed an inpatient substance abuse program. Still, each state has different custody laws and will not automatically restore visitation. Other variables must be considered.
If you’ve temporarily lost custody of your children, be prepared to complete a list of mandated requirements before the court considers reunification. The court wants to see that you stay clean after you complete a substance abuse program. You will need to provide random, clean drug tests. The duration of this testing depends on your state laws. Failed or missed drug tests can prolong reunification, and you may be required to return to incarceration. Such relapses can lead to losing custody permanently.
The court will consider the substance and severity of the abuse when making a custody ruling because some substance abuse carries more significant risks. If you are addicted to heavy drugs, the court may see it as more threatening to your child’s welfare than if you were battling alcohol. They will also look at your criminal record and see if there are any pending cases within the legal system.
<strong>How Your State Laws Affect Child Custody</strong>
State laws may differ slightly on reunification and child visitation with addiction. If you live in a state where marijuana is legal, the court may offer more mercy than if you lived where smoking pot is against the law. The court will consider if this is your first offense or if you have a long history of substance abuse that has risked your children’s safety. You may not have your parental rights reinstated if the addictive behavior has caused severe consequences or you have relapsed repeatedly.
If both you and your children’s other parent are battling substance abuse, the court will decide what is best for the children. Your children may be placed with a trusted relative or in a temporary state foster home. Decisions vary by state and court. In a case where one parent is addicted, and the other is being investigated for abuse or neglect allegations, most courts will deny the addicted parent’s custody rights first.
<strong>Getting Help for Substance Abuse</strong>
The first step in recovery is to admit you have an addiction and need help. Going into an impatient addiction program may take a while. The temporary separation from your children may seem more than you can bear. However, treatment is a positive step that can lead to sobriety and unification with your kids. Are you ready to get help? Call us today at 1-800-123-4567. Our counselors can help you find a program that will give you the treatment you need and work to meet the court’s mandates for reunification.