If you are a parent who is struggling to stay sober, each day can be a battle for sobriety. But any parent with an active alcohol or drug problem faces yet another obstacle: Your children’s other parent could petition the family law courts to limit your time with your kids and strip you of the right to make decisions on their behalf.
You might think that you have done a good job to hide the extent of your drinking or drug abuse from your children. Initially, that might even have been true. But the insidious nature of addiction creates denial of the extent of the problem for the addict. In reality, you’re likely not fooling anyone.
Time for a self-assessment
If you are facing a custody battle while fighting an addiction, you stand a real possibility of having your access to your minor children restricted or curtailed. But you can turn your circumstances around by acknowledging that you have a substance abuse problem. Then, you will need to take steps to address the root of the disease.
Typically, that means going through a medical detox and entering in-patient rehab. During that time, it will be necessary for another person to care for the kids — their other parent, a relative or even a close friend.
Present a workable solution to the court
Your family law attorney can inform the court that you have voluntarily sought the treatment you need to be the best parent possible for your child(ren). All family law courts are bound by the mission to do what is best for the minor children. It’s hard to argue that continued contact with a sober, involved parent is detrimental to a child.
Learning more about Hawaiian residents’ rights and responsibilities as parents can prepare you for what lies ahead in your custody battle.