Non-custodial parents are granted appropriate parenting time when it is in the best interests of the child. When a parent has a substance abuse problem, however, the appropriateness of parenting time is called into question. Does a parent who struggles with substance abuse still have a right to see his or her child? Should the visitation be supervised? Will the child be safe in the hands of someone with a substance abuse problem? These questions don’t have boilerplate answers. Every case is unique, and, in many cases, substance abuse has the potential to affect parenting time.
Whether a parent’s parenting time will be reduced or restricted in some way due to substance abuse depends on several factors. Not all people who suffer from substance abuse problems are bad parents. Controlled substances affect parenting abilities variably, depending on the specific substance, the effects of it on the parent, and the environment in which the child and parent spend time together. Here are some examples of when substance abuse would affect parenting time:
A parent is repeatedly found high on drugs during parenting time. The parent is incoherent when doing drugs, and that upsets the child. This parent might be ordered to undergo substance abuse treatment or evaluation and get his or her parenting time visits supervised or temporarily suspended to ensure the parent is sober and accountable during the visits.
A parent’s home is unstable due to the parent’s substance abuse. Though the parent may remain sober during parenting time, the environment in which the parent and child visit is dirty, unsafe, and frequented by other people who do drugs. The child is put at risk when at the parent’s home. A judge might order the parenting time to take place in public spaces or in designated visitation venues, such as the courthouse. This ensures the parenting time environment is safe.
Substance abuse problems can, but don’t necessarily, affect parenting time. Typically, if substance abuse is affecting a child’s visitation with the parent, the visits may be restricted, supervised, or limited in some way. The parent may also be ordered to undergo a custody or substance abuse evaluation. In these situations, the parent with parenting time may undergo periodic evaluations to reassess whether the restrictions on parenting time are still necessary.
Are you a parent concerned with substance abuse? Williams Law Group, LLC can help ensure your rights as a parent are protected and that you get the appropriate parenting time you deserve. Located in Union, New Jersey, Williams Law Group, LLC provides compassionate and dedicated legal services to Union, Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Morris, Monmouth, and Middlesex counties, and the surrounding areas. Our knowledgeable attorneys handle divorce and family law, child custody, and child abuse/neglect cases. Call our office at (908) 810-1083, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact us through our confidential online form to schedule a consultation and ultimately get connected with an experienced New Jersey divorce and child custody attorney.