Before a family court judge decides on child custody and visitation rights, they must consider the child’s best interests. For this reason, an accusation of alcohol abuse can affect how much time a parent gets with the child. However, proving alcohol abuse is difficult, especially when showing that the parent endangers the child. After all, it’s not against the law for adults to drink around their children.
So, proving that a parent drinks while caring for the child isn’t enough to affect visitation rights. But it can be if one parent shows evidence that the other parent makes dangerous decisions when drinking, such as driving drunk. Consider how this accusation can affect a family court case in South Carolina, and then contact a lawyer to learn more.
How Does a Family Court Handle Alcohol Abuse Accusations Against a Parent?
If you believe your child’s other parent abuses alcohol while around the child, you have a right to be concerned. Alcohol abuse can put children in dangerous situations. If you know your former spouse drives your child around after drinking alcohol or passes out for hours while caring for the child, it makes sense to consider your legal options. Hiring South Carolina family law attorneys is a recommended first step since they can help gather evidence to strengthen your accusation in family court.
On the other hand, most judges want children to have regular contact with both parents when possible. As long as maintaining a relationship with the parent won’t negatively affect the child, the judge will try to avoid revoking visitation rights. So, even if you can prove the parent puts the child in harm’s way when drinking, a judge might change the visitation arrangements to protect the child while allowing them to see their parent.
For example, they might order supervised visitation so the parent isn’t alone with the child. Of course, if you can’t prove that the child is in danger when the parent drinks, the judge likely won’t change the visitation arrangements. That’s why getting a lawyer’s help proving your accusation is essential.
How Can You Prove Alcohol Abuse?
If you believe your child is in danger due to their other parent’s drinking problem, you must prove this. It’s not enough to suggest that the parent enjoys a few drinks around the child. You must prove the child is in danger due to the alcohol abuse. Your lawyer will guide you depending on the details of your case, but these are some ways you can prove alcohol abuse:
- Police records showing a DUI or assault on someone while intoxicated
- Witness testimony from friends, relatives, or coworkers who have seen the child’s other parent drunk and making dangerous decisions
- Emails, texts, or voicemails that the parent sent while drunk
- Medical records showing injuries or disorders due to alcohol abuse
- Drug tests that show alcohol use in the last few days
The more evidence you gather, the stronger your case will be. Our lawyers can help you look for proof that your child is unsafe with their other parent. Contact us to start your case.
What If Your Former Spouse Accused You of Alcohol Abuse?
If your former spouse believes you abuse alcohol and you’re worried about your visitation rights, you should hire a lawyer. However, keep in mind that they will need evidence that you’ve endangered your child while drinking. If you know the accusation is false, stay calm and talk to your lawyer about your legal rights.
If you know there is evidence of your alcohol abuse, it’s important to keep things in perspective. In most cases, you will not lose your visitation rights, though the visits may be supervised until you complete an alcohol treatment program. You might also have to agree to random drug tests to prove you’re sober. Once you can prove you no longer abuse alcohol, your regular visitation rights should be restored.
If you have questions about how an alcohol abuse accusation affects visitation, contact The Howze Law Firm LLC at 803-266-1812. Our South Carolina lawyers know how important issues involving your children are, so we work hard on the family law cases we take on.