Living with a spouse who has an addiction to drugs or alcohol can take its toll. While you may have spent a long time making excuses for your spouse, you reached a place where you realized there was no point trying to fix the marriage if your spouse refused to get help.
Perhaps your spouse seemed to manage to keep the addiction under control while you were together, but since the divorce, you are noticing a dangerous escalation in your ex’s drinking or drug use. While the courts granted visitation or even shared custody to your ex-spouse, you are beginning to wonder if this is in the best interests of your children.
For the sake of the children
Your first instinct may be to refuse to allow the children to spend time with your ex. If the situation is dangerous for the children, you may be right to do so. However, refusing court-ordered visitation can also get you into trouble, including jeopardizing your own parenting time. You would be wise to seek legal advice as quickly as possible to avoid this situation and to protect your children.
The courts typically step in when a parent seeks to modify the custody order. To do this, you will have to demonstrate that your ex is placing the children in danger and that the substance abuse interferes with his or her ability to care for the children. Some examples of that evidence may include:
- A log of times when your ex was impaired or otherwise affected by drugs or alcohol, especially when the children were present
- Official reports from when police responded to your ex’s house because of his or her behavior related to substance abuse
- DUI reports
- Hospital or medical reports from illness or injuries your ex suffered due to alcohol or drugs
- Medical reports from injuries the children suffered in your ex’s care
- The involvement of the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services
The court may respond to your concerns by restricting your ex’s contact with the children or ordering your former partner to have supervision during visitation. These stipulations may remain in place until your ex has successfully completed substance abuse rehabilitation. On the other hand, if you believe the children will suffer harm in the presence of your ex, you may decide to take the drastic step of requesting a restraining order or asking the court to deny your ex any contact with the children.