Drug and alcohol abuse put children at constant risk. Unfortunately, divorce doesn't always protect vulnerable children exposed to addiction. If the wrong spouse achieves full or even partial custody, his or her children could suffer abuse or neglect.
Your goal as the non-addicted parent is to secure temporary, and eventually, full custody of your children. Unfortunately, this can be difficult to achieve, even if your spouse has a clear history of drug abuse.
Filing on Grounds of Intoxication
Georgia lists “habitual intoxication” as one of several grounds for divorce. Your likelihood of securing custody will increase significantly if you successfully file on these grounds. Unfortunately, you bear the burden of proof. Evidence could include criminal history (such as DUI or illicit drug possession conviction) or time spent in drug treatment facilities.
Filing a Motion for Drug Testing
If you struggle to demonstrate a history of drug abuse, immediate drug testing could provide much-needed proof of addiction. Georgia judges occasionally order drug testing without a motion from the other spouse. This typically occurs if the filing spouse opts for grounds of intoxication. Otherwise, the spouse seeking custody is allowed to file a motion for court-ordered testing. A quick hair follicle test can provide irrefutable evidence of an individual’s drug problem. Occasionally, courts opt for urine or blood tests instead.
The Implications of a Failed Drug Test
A failed drug test could result in the loss of both physical and legal custody for your ex-spouse. Drug test failure may also impact visitation. Some spouses with drug problems are able to secure supervised visitation, in which they take drug tests prior to meeting with their children.
What Happens if the Other Parent Overcomes Addiction?
Upon beating addiction, your ex may seek a custody or visitation modification. Judges in Georgia prioritize outcomes that ensure the best interests of affected children, so ample evidence of sobriety may be needed to procure custody. However, judges also believe that it's in the child's best interests to maintain strong bonds with both parents. Thus, parents who have overcome previous drug issues may successfully modify visitation orders by achieving longer visits or avoiding supervision.
DiPietro Law Group, PLLC boasts considerable experience in complicated child custody cases. Do not hesitate to seek the help of our experienced Atlanta child custody lawyers as you request drug testing and seek the best possible custody outcome for your children.