Addressing Alcohol Abuse in Child Custody Cases
The Challenge of Alcohol Abuse in Society
Alcohol Use Disorder affects a significant portion of adults, with 15.1 million cases reported in individuals over eighteen, according to the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. While alcohol isn’t inherently dangerous when consumed responsibly, its abuse can severely impact a person’s health and relationships. This concern intensifies when the individual with Alcohol Use Disorder is also a custodial parent.
Impact on Child Custody and Parenting Time
In custody and parenting time decisions, the paramount concern is the children’s best interests, as outlined in Minnesota Statute § 518.17. The primary goal of any custody order is safeguarding the emotional and physical health of the child. This includes considering a parent’s alcohol abuse history, as it can significantly impact a child’s safety and development.
Understanding Reasonable Alcohol Use
It’s important to note that occasional and moderate alcohol consumption, such as having a drink with dinner, generally isn’t seen as harmful in custody cases. The legal use of alcohol doesn’t equate to danger for the child. However, excessive alcohol consumption in the presence of children, particularly young ones needing constant supervision, raises serious concerns.
Court Solutions for Alcohol Abuse
Courts have various options to protect children in cases where a parent abuses alcohol. Solutions are tailored to each case, considering the children’s and parents’ needs. A typical approach might involve a provision in the parenting plan that prohibits the parent from consuming alcohol during and 24 hours before their parenting time. In severe cases, the court might require supervised parenting time to ensure the children’s immediate safety.
Seeking Help for Custody Concerns Involving Alcohol
Our firm has experience creating parenting plans that safeguard children from the risks associated with an alcoholic parent. If you are navigating a custody or parenting time dispute involving alcohol abuse, contact us at (320) 299-4249. We’re here to discuss your situation and explore protective measures for your children.