For those parents who have had alcohol or drug treatment in the past, it is normal to be concerned that your past struggle with addiction can prevent you from obtaining custody or visitation of your child. However, there are ways to be both forthright with the court about your past struggles and prevent your past from inappropriately being used against you in your fight to maintain a stable relationship with your child.
Past Drug and Alcohol Treatment and the Best Interest of the Child in Prince George’s County, Maryland and Montgomery County, Maryland
As is typical with all domestic cases involving children, the judge or magistrate seeks to determine the appropriate outcome that will be in the best interest of the child. Having one or both parents addicted to drugs or alcohol can adversely affect the mental and physical well-being of a child, so the court has the right to order that one or both parents submit to drug testing and treatment to ensure sobriety.
If past alcohol treatment in Maryland custody proceedings is an issue for you, it is likely that your child’s other parent may bring the matter to the attention of the court and request that you receive testing or ordered treatment. Even if you completed treatment months or years ago, if the alleging parent can show that you may have slipped in your efforts to maintain sobriety, this may impact the court’s decision. Under these circumstances, the most important thing to remember is that you stay clean and sober both for yourself and for your child, especially during an ongoing custody case.
Determining the Effect of Drug or Alcohol Treatment in Maryland Custody Cases
The main objective of the court is to determine whether the treatment you received in the past was effective and whether you have since been able to steadily maintain sobriety. In addition to drug testing, the court may consider medical reports that confirm your past drug or alcohol abuse, reports from child protective services or other social welfare agencies, witnesses who can testify in court about your drug or alcohol use or rehabilitation, and expert testimony. Whether you can show that you maintain sobriety will likely impact the judge’s granting of custody or visitation.
Typically, it is not enough for the other party to simply show that you have experienced substance abuse issues in the past for the judge to rule against you. The court must find that your drug or alcohol use is habitual, frequent, or continual, and is likely to negatively impact your ability to care for your child.
Move in the Right Direction with The Law Office of LaSheena M. Williams, LLC
If the magistrate or judge rules against you because of your alcohol treatment in a Maryland custody dispute, you have options. An experienced custody lawyer can help you regain custody or visitation and move in the right direction of maintaining or re-establishing a relationship with your child
At The Law Office of LaSheena M. Williams, LLC, we understand the catastrophic effects of substance abuse on families and believe that past or even current alcohol treatment in a Maryland custody case shouldn’t prevent a fit parent from having a relationship with their child.
Our firm ardently represents clients throughout Rockville, Bethesda, Gaithersburg, Silver Spring, Takoma Park, Chevy Chase, College Park, Cheverly, Greenbelt, Oxon Hill, Hyattsville, Upper Marlboro, Largo, Bowie, and surrounding communities. Call us today at (301)778-9950 or send us an online request for a consultation.