Children with parents who have alcohol abuse issues can suffer from behavioral problems, depression and anxiety. Alcoholic parents too often fail to care for their children properly. At worst, they can be neglectful or even abusive.
If you’re a parent who’s struggled with alcohol and are going through a divorce, your co-parent may be seeking to limit your custody and visitation rights. You may see this as vindictive, but they may truly be concerned for your children’s well-being. Most courts would prefer that parents be able to have a relationship with their children even if they are dealing with addictions — assuming that there hasn’t been violence or abuse.
One way that you may be able to get increased time with your kids and give your co-parent and the court peace of mind is to agree to an alcohol monitoring program. This can be included in your parenting plan.
Typically, the way these work is that a person is required to take regular tests to measure their blood alcohol content (BAC). If the parent is in recovery or has otherwise agreed to maintain their sobriety, the tests may be administered at random times. On the other hand, they may be required to take the tests only before and during their visitations with their children.
You, your co-parent, the court and perhaps a caseworker will agree on the testing schedule for you. Test results are reported to the designated individuals.
While you may resent the intrusion on your life, it’s essential to understand that alcohol monitoring is an excellent way to show your commitment to sobriety and to being in your children’s lives. Knowing that you could be tested at any time can help prevent a relapse. Agreeing to alcohol monitoring can help give your co-parent and your children confidence that you’re committed to tackling your issues with alcohol in order to be the best possible parent.
If alcohol monitoring has been proposed as part of your custody and visitation negotiations or if you’d like to suggest it, talk with your attorney. They can help you seek to incorporate it into your parenting plan as a means to seeking more time with your kids.