An addiction can be the single most crippling setback that an individual faces in their lifetime. However, when children are involved, it may just be too much to overcome. A parent with an addiction unleashes incredible hardships and even dangers upon their children. Addictions tear families apart by removing home stability, the family’s unity, finances, and families’ physical and mental wellbeing.


If you are struggling with an addiction to alcohol, prescription painkillers, or illegal drugs, contact an experienced family counselor today for a consultation to find out how a counselor can help you obtain sobriety.


Having a parent at home who is struggling with an addiction not only presents a threat to the development of the children exposed to the addiction, such as causing poor grades and not being properly cared for, but it also increases the likelihood that the children will one day abuse a substance as well. In fact, according to national statistics, one in three children will have begun drinking by the age of 13.


It is not uncommon for a parent’s addiction to become so bad for children, that state may remove children the home. Likewise, in the scenario of a divorce, the parent without the addiction will likely be given custody of the children because of the healthier, more stable environment that will come with a sober parent as opposed to an addicted parent.

If a child is deemed to be at risk, the state may review the family situation and intervene if necessary. They could even remove the child from the home if they believe the child is in danger.


While a parent with an addiction may not ever physically harm a child, an addiction creates the very real potential for neglect (lack of proper housing, food, clothing, supervision, and medical care).


Custody Issues for Parents with Substance Abuse Problems


The court will most likely make the decision about custody at the time of the divorce and will likely deny equal custody rights to a parent with a substance abuse problem. Most often, a parent with an untreated addiction will face losing any joint or shared custody, and certainly the potential for physical custody (with whom the child spends the majority of their time) as well. 


What’s more is that an addicted parent may not even be granted unsupervised visitation rights, meaning what time, if any, they are allowed to spend with their children will be supervised by the other parent. The parent with the addiction may be required to take drug tests in order for visitation rights and/or a modification in the custody agreement. The court may also demand that the addicted parent attend rehabilitation counseling, in-patient detoxification at a hospital or health facility, or attend Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous if the parent wishes to have visitation or custody rights in the future.


Contact A Counselor Immediately


If your life is spiraling out of control because of alcohol or drugs and you risk losing your children, contact a counseling office today to speak with a family counselor. They can help you determine what is the best type of treatment for your case.


Source: Family Counseling Great Falls, VA, Lindsay Hoskins & Associates