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Can You Modify A Custody Order Because Of A Parent’s Addiction?

by | May 17, 2021 | Child Custody |

You love your children more than anything in the world. While you likely hoped that you and the other parent would be able to raise your children together effectively, issues in the marriage resulted in you choosing to get a divorce. At first, you may have believed that joint custody was a favorable arrangement for everyone involved, but now, you believe your former spouse has a drug addiction that could harm your children.

You undoubtedly always keep your children’s best interests in mind, and that is the job of the family law court as well. If you believe that your spouse has an opioid abuse problem and that your children should have limited or no unsupervised time with that parent, you may want to bring your concerns to the court’s attention.

What Can You Do?

If you already have an existing custody order issued by the court, you could petition to have that arrangement modified. However, the court will likely conduct an investigation into your claims to determine whether your ex-spouse truly has a problem and whether the problem negatively affects his or her parenting abilities.

If the court does determine that an issue exists, the specific outcomes for your case may vary. However, some common results from this type of situation include:

  • The judge could modify the custody arrangement to limit the parent’s contact with the children.
  • The judge could determine that the parent can only have supervised visits with the children in a controlled location.
  • The judge may place stipulations on these requirements, such as requiring the parent to show that he or she is taking steps to address the substance abuse before removing the restrictions.

Because you are bringing these concerns and allegations to the court, having evidence to support your statements could prove invaluable. Information and records that could help bolster your argument include police reports involving the other parent, personal accounts of how the addiction has put your children in unsafe circumstances, witnesses who could testify to support your claim and more.

Modifying An Order

Modifying a custody order is not easy, and the court will not make changes to a pre-existing arrangement on a whim. As a result, you may want to gain reliable information on how to handle modifications in New York and what steps you could take to better ensure the safety and well-being of your children.