Child Custody and Addiction in North Carolina

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Drug and alcohol addiction can ruin lives, especially when children are involved. You care about your children and will do anything to protect them, even if their other parent is causing a dangerous situation through addiction.

The best way to ensure your children are safe is to create a child custody and visitation arrangement that avoids exposure to addiction. A child custody attorney at Breeden Law Office can help. Call us today at (919) 661-4970 or contact us online to schedule a case consultation.

Factors Affecting Child Custody in North Carolina

When determining child custody where a parent suffers from addiction, the court will always do what is in the child’s best interests. The court wants to ensure the child is safe and will not be placed in a dangerous situation.

Child Custody Before a Divorce

If a parent is actively addicted to drugs or using alcohol, the issue can be brought up before the divorce is finalized. When parents separate, the court will give primary physical custody to one of them. It is in the child’s best interests to be kept out of a situation where drugs and alcohol may be present.

You can apply for a temporary child custody order before your divorce is final. You can even request supervised visitation if your child’s other parent is in a particularly harmful situation with their addiction.

Child Custody Modification After a Divorce

If you already have a child custody order in place, you can get the order modified post-divorce. If your child’s other parent uses drugs or alcohol frequently, the court will find it in the child’s best interest to avoid being with them. The dangers of addiction are well known to the court, and the court would never knowingly put a child in a situation exposing them to drugs or alcohol.

If your child’s other parent can admit they have an addiction problem, they may be willing to agree to a child custody modification. This will make the process of modification quicker and easier.

Supervised Visitation

The court’s goal is to keep both biological parents in a child’s life. However, if it is too dangerous for the child to visit with the addicted parent alone, the court may order supervised visitation. You can request supervised visitation if your child’s other parent is not currently able to be responsible for the child’s wellbeing. This will protect your child and ensure their safety.

If supervised visits are ordered, your ex-spouse may:

  • Be required to submit to a drug or alcohol test before visitation
  • Not be allowed to possess or consume alcohol or controlled substances
  • Be restricted from driving while visiting with the children
  • Be required to enter a drug and/or alcohol treatment program

What Evidence Do You Need in NC to Prove Threatening Addiction?

The court will need evidence that your child’s other parent is not safe for your child. When proving they are suffering from addiction, you may use some of the following:

  • Arrest reports for drug charges or DUIs
  • Court records about cases
  • Probation documentation, including drug or alcohol testing
  • Police reports of domestic violence
  • Child protection services reports of neglect or endangerment
  • Court-ordered drug or alcohol testing
  • Eyewitness statements
  • Medical records or documentation from rehab

You should not take any steps that would endanger your children. Do not ask your children to spy on your ex or gather evidence for you.

Talk to Your Child About Addiction

You can explain the custody situation if your children are old or mature enough. You should explain that addiction is a mental illness, and they may not be able to see their other parent as frequently. Do not do anything that would make your children think negatively of the other parent. Instead, help them understand that the situation is serious and that you want what’s best for everyone involved.

Terminating Parental Rights

Co-parenting with someone battling addiction can be difficult, and if it becomes impossible, then termination of parental rights might be an option. In some dire situations, cutting off the other parent may be the only solution to protect the children.

The court may forcibly terminate parental rights if a biological parent has placed children in a dangerous situation on multiple occasions. However, this is very rare. In some cases, a parent will opt to terminate their parental rights. This may be part of a negotiated solution.

How A North Carolina Family Law Attorney Can Help You

Before making accusations or trying to keep your child from your ex, contact a North Carolina divorce attorney. This is a delicate matter that should be handled carefully: the court will not look kindly upon you if you prevent your child’s other parent from seeing them. Doing anything without the court’s backing could escalate the problem or increase tensions with your ex and endanger your children.

A family separation attorney in North Carolina can quickly file a motion to establish or modify child custody to protect your child. You can consider requesting supervised visitation to keep your child from drugs and alcohol.

In some situations, a family law attorney may be able to negotiate with your ex. If they admit they have a problem, you can establish a positive parenting plan to keep your child safe.

Call Breeden Law for Help with Child Custody

Whether the drug addict is a father or mother, visitation can be made into a safe situation with court intervention. However, you must act quickly. Substance abuse disorders can get worse quickly when someone is struggling with addiction.

A family law attorney at Breeden Law Office will help protect your children and ensure custody is secured. To discuss your options, call (919) 661-4970 or use our online form to reach out.

Addiction can ruin lives. When people fighting addiction also have to worry about custody issues, it’s best to rely on advice from an experienced North Carolina Family Law attorney, like Jonathan Breeden. Jonathan understands that addiction situations create pressure and tension. He knows you shouldn’t face these issues alone.

To speak with a child custody lawyer in North Carolina about your situation, use the online contact form, or call (919) 661-4970 to schedule a consultation.

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Divorce In North Carolina: What You Need To Know

A book by Jonathan Breeden