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Can substance abuse affect child custody?

On Behalf of | Sep 10, 2021 | Child Custody

While there are many positive ways to deal with the stress that often accompanies the end of a marriage, abusing controlled substances is likely to cause more harm than good. After all, not only may drugs impair your decision-making abilities, but they also may be hazardous to your health.

If you have kids and cannot reach an acceptable custody agreement with your soon-to-be ex-spouse, you may have to ask a judge to decide custody for you. Regrettably, any history of substance abuse is likely to work against you.

The best interests of the child standard

Oklahoma law requires judges to consider the best interests of the children when making custody and other child-related decisions. To determine what is best for your kids, the judge in your case is likely to weigh several factors. An important one is your ability to provide a healthy and stable environment for your children. If you have an addiction to controlled substances, you simply may not be able to do so.

A request for an emergency hearing

The custody process may drag on for months or longer, giving you plenty of time to make a compelling argument for the outcome you want. Nevertheless, if your soon-to-be ex-spouse has evidence of your substance abuse, he or she may ask a judge to hold an emergency hearing. At this hearing, you may immediately lose your legal right to see your kids.

Not only is using drugs bad for you, but it can put your kids in physical and psychological danger. Ultimately, by staying sober, you improve your odds of receiving the custody determination you need to protect your parent-child relationships.