You’re battling your co-parent for sole custody of your children. You may even believe that any visitation they have with the kids needs to be supervised. Your co-parent has a drug and/or alcohol problem that you believe makes them incapable of safely and responsibly caring for the children — even for short periods. Your co-parent is fighting you on this. They want shared custody or perhaps unrestricted visitation. Therefore, it looks like you’ll need to take the matter before a judge to decide.
It’s essential to understand that you can’t just tell the judge what you’ve observed or lived with or what you’ve heard from others. You’ll need to provide actual proof that your co-parent should have only restricted access to the kids.
What kind of evidence is admissible in court?
You can testify that you’ve seen your co-parent drink to excess or use drugs around your kids. If there are others who are willing to testify to this, that may help. The more unbiased the witnesses are, the more likely they are to be believed. Daycare providers, doctors and teachers can often provide more objective testimony than family members, friends and neighbors.
You may have some photographic evidence, like multiple photos or videos posted to Facebook or taken on your phone showing your co-parent passed out or in some state of intoxication or even using illegal drugs. Legitimate evidence like this can be powerful, depending on what it depicts. A photo of your ex asleep next to an empty bottle of whiskey doesn’t prove anything. Text messages and voice mail messages can be valuable evidence.
If you know your co-parent is using illegal drugs, you can ask that they submit to a drug test. However, they have the right to refuse.
Police reports can be helpful. If your co-parent has multiple DUIs (particularly if the children were in the car) or arrests for drug-related offenses or violent crimes, this can be powerful evidence to support your case.
Your Austin family law attorney can provide valuable guidance on how best to present a strong case for a custody and visitation arrangement that will protect your kids physically and emotionally.