As a Florida parent, you likely want the very best for your child, but when your child’s other parent abuses substances, it can raise questions about exactly what “best interests of the child” really means. At the Law Office of Philip J. Schipani, we understand that you want to protect your child, and we have helped many parents facing similar circumstances navigate co-parenting with a substance abuser.
Per Livestrong.com, your former partner’s substance abuse issues have the potential to affect visitation, custody and, in certain cases, even parental rights. In most cases, courts base decisions about these and related matters on what they consider to be “in the best interests of the child,” and when proof exists of parental substance abuse, the abusing parent may see a reduction in parenting time.
If, for example, your child has unsupervised visitation with the substance-abusing parent, the courts may halt visitation altogether, or they may, under certain circumstances, allow for supervised visits between parent and child until the abuser demonstrates continued sobriety. If you share custody with your child’s other parent, or if he or she has primary custody, but you are fearful about your child’s safety in his or her care, you may be able to pursue a change in custody.
Generally, terminating any parent’s parental rights is a court’s last resort, but it can occur in situations involving prolonged substance abuse. If the substance-abusing parent declines available treatment, this may, too, play a role in custody and related decisions. More about child custody is available on our web page.