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Alcoholism and child custody: Are they incompatible?

On Behalf of | Jan 21, 2021 | Child Custody |

There is a definite connection between alcoholism and divorce. Quite likely, there is also a corollary between parents getting divorced and increasing their alcohol uptake. That often happens when couples divorce and one or both parties spirals into a depression fueled by alcohol.

But what happens when an alcoholic parent seeks custody of their kids? Is it futile to even try?

A diagnosis of alcoholism can be quite subjective

To a teetotaler, someone who polishes off a 6-pack from Friday to Monday could be considered an alcoholic, when in reality they are just someone who enjoys a couple of beers on the weekend. But a nondrinking parent seeking full custody and child support could attempt to thumb the custody scales by exaggerating their ex’s consumption and drinking frequency.

Are there any red flags?

Any parent seeking custody who has a DWI on their record or other alcohol-related arrest or conviction should expect that to be introduced by their ex’s attorney in court. Other potential problems include pictures, videos or recordings indicating drunken behavior or its aftermath. Video of a parent passed out or vomiting after drinking can be quite compelling in court.

Parents can fight for custody rights

When it comes to your relationship with your children, never throw in the towel. Alcoholism alone is not immediately disqualifying in most cases. But you must understand that no court in this land can justify handing custody of minor children to an alcoholic parent who is still drinking and has made no attempt to get sober. Courts must always act with the best interests of the children in mind.

If you are serious about pursuing custody, quit drinking and start attending AA meetings. Get a sponsor. If it’s bad enough, go through detox. The court will take into consideration the efforts you are making to remain sober when they make their decision regarding the custody of your children. If you are not an alcoholic but you suspect your spouse will accuse you of being one in order to make a play for custody, make sure your attorney knows your thoughts. There are ways to fight back.

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