Can Substance Abuse Result in Losing Child Custody?

Substance abuse in child custody cases can be the tipping point that results in courts awarding custody to the other parent. In Texas, courts arrive at decisions in custody cases by determining what is in the “best interest of the child.”

What Is Considered Substance Abuse?

Substance abuse can refer to legally prescribed drugs or use of illegal drugs. Using illegal drugs is drug abuse, but so is misuse of legal drugs, including alcohol and prescribed medications. Binge drinking or taking medication in a way not prescribed (exceeding dosages) is substance abuse. Underage use of tobacco or drinking alcohol is also a type of substance misuse.

Factors Courts Consider When Determining Child Custody

Based on the Texas Family Code, courts consider “whether there is a history of substance abuse by the child’s family or others who have access to the child’s home.”

The opioid crisis has gained high profile in the news. Today many people are aware of the abuse of painkillers. If a parent has DWI or DUI in Texas, this could be a reason for the court to award child custody to the other parent.

Through the use of social media, people post what they’re doing for the world to see. A judge may decide to award custody to the parent who is not habitually engaged in social drinking. And, because Texas law also states “abuse by others who have access to the child’s home,” the abuse may not be on the part of the parent. Suppose the parent’s boyfriend or girlfriend who is frequently in the home is a binge drinker. A neighbor or other witness who can testify to this fact could significantly influence the outcome of a custody battle.

Seek Legal Help

If you’re going through divorce or are seeking sole custody of your child, substance abuse is something you should definitely discuss with your lawyer.

Our lawyers at Richardson Brown Law keep your matters private and have compassion for our clients. You can also rely on our extensive experience to help guide you with addressing divorce issues.