Things can change pretty significantly after your initial custody and visitation order is issued. And those changes can have a tremendous impact on your child as well as the amount and quality of time that you spend with them. If at some point you feel that your existing custody arrangement is unworkable or is posing a threat to your child’s well-being, you might want to consider seeking a child custody modification.
Child custody modification and substance abuse
There are a lot of justifications for seeking custody modification, but one of the most common is parental substance abuse. Sadly, many children in our area are subjected to their parent’s drug and alcohol use, which can have a tremendous impact on the child’s health, safety, and well-being. In fact, any of the following can be caused by a child’s exposure to parental substance abuse:
- The child taking on parental responsibility
- Poor school performance
- Increase in risky behaviors
Although these problems are enough to cause issues in your child’s everyday life and far into the future, they are not, by any means, the only risks that your child may face when exposed to parental substance abuse. Therefore, you need to be on the lookout for changed behaviors. And if you spot sudden changes, you’ll want to start asking questions to find the cause.
Gathering evidence to support a modification request
If you suspect that your child has been subjected to parental substance abuse and are now considering seeking custody modification, you need to know how to gather the right evidence to support your request. The following evidence is a good place to start in building your legal arguments:
- Police reports that document that your child’s other parent being engaged in drug activity or alcohol-related disputes.
- Witness accounts of your child’s other parent being under the influence, especially if the behavior is exhibited on a consistent basis or while in the presence of your child.
- Your child’s statements, which may give valuable insight into how the other parent behaves in the family home and the impact that the behavior has on your child.
- Opinions from your child’s therapist, which can give the court a clear indication of what sort of custody arrangement supports your child’s best interests. If your child doesn’t have a therapist, you might want to seek one out for them, even if you have to get a court order to allow you to do so.
- Your retained communications with the other parent, whether they be through text, email or phone. The other parent’s demeanor during those interactions can help paint a picture for the judge.
There are other forms of evidence out there. You just have to be creative in how you identify and obtain that evidence. Consider looking at social media, who the other parent associates with, and whether the other parent has a history of substance abuse.
Legal professionals stand ready to help you fight for your child
In the end, the focus in these disputes is on your child’s best interests. That’s why you have to be prepared to tailor your arguments to what is right for your child. If you think that you could use some assistance in crafting your legal strategy, you may benefit from having an experienced legal advocate on your side. If you’d like to learn more about what a legal ally can do for you in your case, now may be the time to reach out to one whom you think can give you the representation that you deserve.