Child custody and visitation issues can be amongst the most confrontational in all of family law. Most people who find themselves embroiled in these disputes worry about their relationship with their children and their children’s safety and well-being. These concerns are well-founded. After all, the actions or inactions of an inappropriate parent can have significant ramifications on a child’s life. This week, let’s look at substance abuse as an example.
How parental substance abuse might affect your children
Drug and alcohol abuse continues to be a problem in our country. This abuse certainly have ramifications for those who are addicted, but far too often innocent children are left exposed to substance abuse. This can cause them significant physical, emotional, and psychological harm. In fact, here is just a small list of some of the negative effects that exposure to parental substance abuse can have on children:
- Increased risk of physical abuse
- Increased risk of neglect
- Decreased school performance
- Behavioral issues
- Social isolation
- Increased risk of developing substance abuse problem
There are other problems that can arise, too. For example, older children may be thrust into a parental role to care for their siblings when an intoxicated parent is unable to fulfill parental responsibilities. Any one of these effects can have tremendous implications for your child, but taken together they can have life-long impacts that can be difficult to successfully address.
Fight to protect your children
If you think that your children have been exposed to parental substance abuse, then you might want to take legal action to modify child custody and/or parenting time to protect their best interests. To do so, you’ll need evidence to support your position, which might include witness testimony, police reports, criminal records, and maybe even substance abuse treatment records. If you think that you could benefit from help building your case, then speaking with an experienced family law attorney might be a great first step.