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When substance abuse leads to loss of custody

On Behalf of | Mar 9, 2023 | Drug Crimes

If you have an ex-spouse who has previously grappled with alcohol or substance abuse, it’s natural to worry that they’ll expose your children to that kind of behavior. It’s crucial that you understand how substance abuse can impact child custody if you’re going through this difficult problem in Maryland.

When is the right time to go to the courts?

It might not be clear when you should get the courts involved. This makes it all the more important to understand what your options are so you can protect your children and still stay within the court-ordered child custody and visitation schedule that you have agreed to.

The first step to court intervention in cases of substance abuse starts when the state or the court receives a report about the suspicions of it. The state or court may also be informed of the alleged effects that this behavior has on the kids involved. These kinds of suspicions can be reported to the court that made the child custody order. When it is reported to the state, it is done through the Department of Child Protective Services.

How might the court respond?

A court’s response to allegations or suspicions of substance abuse depends heavily on whether the well-being of the child is hindered by the parent’s activities. The best interest of the child standard is used across the United States to make the determination of how child custody should be arranged. It is the family law principle that considers how fit each party is from a general parenting perspective. This accounts for any drug or alcohol use.

For parents who are concerned about their ex’s substance abuse around their children, it’s a good idea to bring your issue to court. It helps to document these incidents and create a clear record to prove that their substance abuse has rendered them unsuitable as a parent.