Your ex-spouse is a loving parent, but you have noticed that they’ve been doing more and more things that aren’t healthy. Recently, they got a DUI after they went out to drink with friends, and you became very concerned that their drinking might be out of control.
Since your children are with your ex several days a week, the idea that they might be in the car with someone who is intoxicated is horrible. You want to take action to make sure they’re safe at all times.
When should you get the court involved?
It’s not a bad idea to get the court involved if you believe that your ex-spouse is dealing with a substance abuse disorder and may put your children at risk of harm. Substance abuse can have negative impacts on your children and could, even if unintentional, lead to them getting injured in a car crash or other accident at home.
If you want to modify your custody order or ask for supervised visitation, those are both reasonable requests. To do so, you should get as much information about your ex’s behavior as you can.
The judge will consider parenting fitness when assigning custody
To a judge, putting a child in danger is not in a child’s best interests and is a serious problem. If you return to court to ask to modify your custody order, they may agree that the other parent needs to seek substance abuse treatment or that supervised visitation is a necessity at this time.
In severe cases of neglect or child endangerment, it’s possible that your ex could have custody taken away from them until they can show that they have taken steps to minimize the risk to your children and improve their lifestyle.
If you want to make sure your case is taken seriously, get as much evidence about the other party’s substance abuse issues as you can. Then, make sure you create a compelling case for the court. The judge may agree that a significant change in circumstances has occurred and that the custody schedule and agreement needs to be altered.