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Child custody is complicated with addiction in the family

When drug addiction invades a family, children often suffer in unimaginable ways. Many children of drug addicts end up living with their grandparents when authorities decide their parents are no longer fit for child custody. However, the circumstances may become desperate if the grandparents are also dealing with drug addiction.

A picture that captured the attention of people in Louisiana and around the world is an example of just such a situation. The photo depicted an unconscious man and woman in the front seat of a vehicle with a small boy strapped in his car seat in the back. Police posted the image on social media to illustrate the dangers of heroin use, and the post went viral.

The unconscious woman was the child's grandmother. She had won custody of him only six weeks earlier when authorities decided the drug history of the child's parents made them unfit to care for him. The boy had previously been living with his maternal great grandparents.

As the great grandparents reached their 80s, they asked the court to grant custody to their daughter, the boy's aunt. Instead, the court awarded custody to the child's paternal grandmother, who was found unconscious in the vehicle. After an emergency hearing, the judge finally agreed to place the child with his aunt and uncle. Authorities feel confident that this is a happy ending and that the child will be safe and well-loved.

Because child custody issues are delicate and complex, people in Louisiana often turn to family law attorneys for help. While courts prefer that children remain with family as often as possible, when the closest family members are unfit, exceptions must be made. Having an attorney to guide one through the custody process ensures that one fully understands one's rights and responsibilities.

Source: wfmj.com, "Relatives granted custody of four-year-old boy seen in pictures", Janet Rogers, Dec. 21, 2016

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