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    When couples get divorced in California, there are multiple factors they must work through to reach a final agreement. When one of those factors is a drug or alcohol dependency problem, addiction can complicate matters significantly — especially where child custody is concerned.

    At the Land Legal Group, our Los Angeles child custody attorneys have represented both types of parents: Those who want to protect their children from a parent who has a substance abuse problem, and those who have worked tirelessly on their recovery, so they can focus on repairing their relationships with their children.

    It is important for both parents to know where the California family courts stand on these issues, so they can align their child custody expectations with the laws that are designed to protect their children.

    The California Family Courts Will Heavily Consider a Parent’s Drug or Alcohol Dependency During Child Custody Cases

    When one parent has a drug or alcohol problem, the first concern is that he or she will expose the children to their addiction — or worse, direct contact or ingestion of the drugs themselves.

    Other concerns include the overall safety of the children, whether they are being properly supervised, and/or if they are being transported by a parent who is impaired. These are all serious concerns that can take center stage during California divorce proceedings.

    However, not everyone who has an addiction issue wears their dependency on their sleeves. Some parents are better at hiding it than others. However, if an allegation of drug or alcohol abuse is made during a divorce, the court must investigate its legitimacy.

    If your soon-to-be-ex-spouse has a chemical dependency problem, you have options when determining child custody during your divorce. Judges take child safety seriously and fully understand the harm a parent’s drug abuse can create.

    The court may impose severe restrictions and limitations on a parent’s custody rights, visitation, and access to the child, which may include, but are not limited to:

    • Court order to withhold visitation until the parent has participated in a drug treatment program and submits to drug testing to visit with the child.
    • Court order to abstain from consuming alcohol and submit to an alcohol monitoring system as a condition of visitation or possession of a child.
    • Supervised visitation conducted by a third party.

    If a parent demonstrates a genuine commitment to treatment and sobriety, the court may modify and expand a parent’s visitation and access.

    However, the California family courts will require substantial evidence that the parent has remained clean and sober, which may include rehabilitation certificates, testimony from medical professionals, and their ongoing involvement in a maintenance program that will allow them to regain the court’s trust before the judge will modify the child custody agreement.

    If you have struggled with a drug or alcohol problem that is impacting your visitation and child custody arrangements, but are ready to revisit the legal matter, we can help. If you have been falsely accused of having a drug problem, so the custody battle tilts in your spouse’s favor, we can help with this unfair attempt to violate your parenting rights, too.

    Contact the Los Angeles Family Law Attorneys at the Land Legal Group Today

    Contact our skilled family law attorneys in Los Angeles at the Land Legal Group today to learn more about your legal rights and options to pursue a modification of your child custody agreement by calling (310) 552-3500 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your unique needs and to learn how we can help.

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