All child custody issues are determined based on what furthers the child’s best interests. That may sound pretty straightforward, but the truth of the matter is that there are a lot of factors that play into determining what, exactly, furthers a child’s best interests. This can make it difficult to determine which factors will be controlling in custody disputes, rendering your position challenging to pin down.
However, there are some issues that are so severe that they might dictate the outcome of conflicts over child custody and visitation. One of them is parental substance abuse. Drug use is all too common in our society, and it’s not unusual for children to be exposed to it. This can have a tremendous impact on them, including:
- Forcing them to take on parental responsibilities by caring for themselves and siblings when the parent is unable to do so.
- Subjecting them to an increased risk of abuse and neglect.
- Developing feelings of shame, anxiety, and depression.
- Negatively impacting school performance.
- Putting stability at risk due to financial issues.
- Causing behavioral issues on account of built up frustration, anger, and lack of parental supervision and guidance.
If these effects worry you, then you need to do what you can to protect your child. This might mean filing for divorce and seeking sole custody, or it might mean pursuing a child custody modification and limiting the child’s other parent’s visitation. Regardless of your specific situation, you’re going to need strong legal arguments that demonstrate how your position supports the child’s best interests. This means gathering evidence, questioning witnesses, and applying the law to the facts at hand. A skilled family law attorney may be able to assist in this endeavor to ensure that your child is protected to the fullest extent possible.