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Law Offices of John A. Guthrie - Family Law Attorney

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How substance abuse issues may impact child custody cases

Although a California resident might assume that drug use would have a negative impact on a parent’s petition for custody of their child, one cannot generalize. The specific details of a case may play a role in the amount of parenting time and terms of visitation ordered by a judge. If drug abuse is an issue that is far in the parent’s past, for example, primary physical custody could be a reasonable option. Further, joint legal custody is typically ordered unless one of the parents has been declared to be unfit.

In the case of a recent announcement by reality tv celebrities Kourtney Kardashian and Scott Disick related to their pending split, there is speculation that the couple’s three children would likely be placed with their mother due to the father’s recent release from a drug rehab. However, many observers believe that the outcome could depend on whether the mother will fight for custody. Further, recent trends suggest that a parent might still obtain some form of custody in spite of negative behavior in their history.

One of the most important factors in applicable family court decisions is that of the best interest of the child. Preventing a child from having contact with a parent is viewed negatively by many judges. The emotional support provided by both parents is deemed to be extremely important, and even if physical custody is not possible, parenting time for a non-custodial parent is a priority. For an individual who is dealing with major drug and alcohol abuse issues, supervised parenting time might be ordered.

A parent who has been successful with drug rehabilitation might want to seek changes in a custody order at some point in the future. A family law attorney may be able to assist with building a case for a modification of visitation terms and physical custody details.

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