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The role of substance abuse in child custody

When parents of young children end their relationship, one of the most delicate aspects can be the child custody negotiations, particularly when there is a history of substance or alcohol abuse or other issues such as spousal abuse. Oklahoma parents who are negotiating custody might be interested in knowing the impact that these types of issues have.

Many people believe that a parent who has a history of substance abuse might not be eligible for custody. The courts look at a lot of things before making a determination on these matters, and a history of substance or alcohol abuse does not necessarily mean that the parent will be denied custody. Getting child custody for a parent with this type of history might also become a bigger struggle if the other parent chooses to fight the custody and if the other parent was also the primary caretaker before the divorce. However, it is not impossible.

Because the best interest of the child is foremost in child custody decisions, courts will also consider a parent's relationship with the child before the divorce in order to make a make a determination. Additionally, it is believed that in most cases, it is in the best interest of the child to continue a stable relationship with both parents as long as the parents are fit, so courts will make allowances for that. However, when there is a history of abuse, the court might also mandate that that parent's visits be supervised or that the parent receives random drug testing, for example.

Parents in custody disputes often focus their concern on who will win the battle rather than considering the effect it may be having on their children who are witnessing it. A family law attorney might be of assistance to a parent who is going through one in attempting to negotiate an agreement that will resolve this issue in an amicable way.

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