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Child custody and substance abuse problems

Many Texas residents are of the belief that if a parent has a history of substance abuse, that fact will be enough to prevent them from seeking and being granted custody rights for their children. While the courts will consider their substance abuse issues, that alone is normally not enough for a judge to prevent them from having visitation or custody.

In many cases, the other parent will ask the court for such things as supervised visitation in which a third party supervises the child's visit, random drug and alcohol testing of the parent or even that the substance-abusing parent not be allowed to drive their children. It is important for people to understand, however, that just because such restrictions are requested does not automatically mean they will be granted.

When judges make custody decisions, they do so with an eye to what is in the child's best interests and not according to what the parents especially want to happen. Generally speaking, courts believe that a child's interests are best served by their having liberal contact with both parents. While such decisions may not seem to make much sense in cases in which the other parent has problems with drugs or alcohol, people should be aware of how judges make decisions.

A parent who is going through a child custody dispute and has valid concerns about their child's safety while in the care of the other parent may want to discuss the matter with a family law attorney. If legal counsel can demonstrate that a child would be in danger when visiting with the other parent, the court may restrict that parent's access in order to make certain the child will be safe. The court may also order the parent to go through substance abuse treatment before the restrictions are lifted.

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