Drug Abuse Can Impact Your Parenting Time

drug abuse, parenting responsibilities, DuPage County family law attorneyAs you may be already aware, beginning in 2016, the excessive use and abuse of drugs and alcohol will no longer be separately recognized as grounds for divorce. The dissolution process itself must be based on irreconcilable differences, essentially making every divorce officially a no-fault situation. However, even without making drug abuse the basis for the divorce, a large number of couples, and parents, in particular, are affected by the destructive, chemical-related behavior of one party. It is important to understand that drug abuse can and will continue to impact, arrangements regarding parental responsibilities and parenting time.

Allocation of Parental Responsibilities

Following a divorce or the break-up of unmarried parents, you and the other parent will be expected to reach a workable agreement regarding the parental responsibilities for your child. Before it will be approved, however, the court must examine the terms of the agreement and determine that they are reflective of the child’s overall best interests. If the agreement is not approved, or if you and the other parent cannot develop one together, the court will decide how parental responsibilities will be decided. In doing so, the court must take into account the various factors at work in the relationship and establish an arrangement that will meet the child’s needs.

If it becomes evident that recreational or prescription drug abuse either presents a physical, emotional, or moral danger to the child, or prevents the parent from fulfilling his or her responsibilities, the court will incorporate that realization into the order. This would likely mean reduced responsibilities for the parent known to be abusing drugs, or certain conditions and restrictions placed on his or her parenting time.

Parenting Time Limitations

Parenting time considerations, once known simply as visitation, can be greatly affected by substance concerns. When drug abuse is a known problem, the court, by law, may require the affected parent to refrain from possessing or consuming alcohol or recreational drugs while spending time with his or her child, as well as for a designated period immediately prior to the visit. The court may even order alcohol or drug abuse treatment for a parent whose parenting time has been restricted, making completion of appropriated programs a condition of restoring parental responsibilities.

When you are divorced or separated, the challenges associated with shared parenting responsibilities can be rather daunting. It is all the more difficult when alcohol or drug abuse is part of the equation. If you suspect that your child’s other parent is abusing drugs and the behavior is affecting your child, contact an experienced family law attorney in DuPage County. We will help you take the necessary steps to ensure your child is properly cared for and well-protected. Call [[phone]] today for a confidential, no-obligation consultation.

 

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?DocName=075000050HPt%2E+VI&ActID=2086&ChapterID=59&SeqStart=8350000&SeqEnd=10200000

http://singleparents.about.com/od/visitation/a/before-you-refuse-visitation.htm

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