Going through a divorce is an understandably difficult and emotional process. As a result, you may find yourself falling back into old habits of drinking too much or even taking substances in attempts to dull your pain. However, these actions could greatly affect the outcome of your divorce, especially when it comes to child custody.

If you want to obtain at least joint custody of your children, you need to prove that you are a fit parent. If you and the other parent do not get along, it is possible that he or she may try to use your substance use as evidence that you should not have custody, even partially.

Substance abuse and divorce

The main reason that substance abuse, or even just overuse, could negatively affect your chances of obtaining the custody outcomes you desire is that the court wants to ensure the safety of the children and maintain their best interests. If it appears that you do not have control over certain bad habits, it is possible that the court will question your parenting abilities.

If you do or did struggle with addiction or alcoholism, your first instinct may be to hide this information. However, that may not come across well to the court. Instead, it may be better to openly discuss your issues as well as your willingness to address current problems or to keep past ones in check.

Safeguards for the kids

Because the court has a duty to your children, it is possible for the judge involved with your case to not seem fully on your side. As a result, the judge may order certain safeguards to ensure that the children will not suffer in your care. Those safeguards may include having you submit to random drug or alcohol testing, having to attend a treatment program, or having supervised visitation.

While this may seem unfair to you at first, complying with the court order may help your case more than fighting against it for the time being. As you show the court that you will comply with their wishes and show that any previous issues no longer affect you, your custody arrangement may be modified and the safeguards lessened.

Doing your best

Though you may do your best to keep any substance use during divorce in check, it may get the better of you. Still, the present does not have to reflect your future, and you can work to reach the custody outcomes you desire. Working with your Arizona legal counsel may help you understand what steps you can take to reach such goals.

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