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Dealing with substance abuse during a custody dispute

Colorado child custody disputes can become even more complex if one parent is worried about the other parent's alcohol and drug use when the children are around. A parent who believes that the children are at risk for harm due to the other parent's substance abuse may request a modification to the child support order to keep the children safe.

The court will generally only take action when alcohol or drug abuse prevents a parent from being able to care for the children or puts the children's well-being in danger. If a parent raises concern during a child custody hearing, the court may decide to investigate the substance abuse allegations. If the substance abuse allegations are true, the court will have to determine if the issue has an impact on their ability to parent.

Parents who are concerned about the other parent's drug use should take steps to document any incidents that could bolster the allegations, especially if it provides proof that the parent's substance use puts the children at risk. If the court determines that the allegations are valid and the parent cannot provide proper care for the children, the judge may restrict the parent's access. The court may order that all visits with the child are supervised and are conducted in a safe place.

Because substance abuse can have an impact on the children's health and happiness, a parent who believes the other parent is abusing drugs or alcohol should contact a child custody attorney. Counsel may offer advice on how to document the drug and alcohol abuse so that the parent has evidence to present in court.

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Cooper, Tanis & Armas, P.C.
42 Garden Center
Broomfield, CO 80020