When alcoholism interferes with parenthood

People in Massachusetts may have seen a recent news article about the pressures and hardships of dealing with an alcoholic spouse, and how these pressures can be even more pressing for married couples with children. Alcoholism can not only destroy a marriage, it can cause terrible problems for the family, especially the children. Alcoholism can also be a problem when it comes to determining child custody and visitation rights for an alcoholic parent.

Alcoholism is the number one drug addiction problem in the U.S., and it is often so ubiquitous that it can be difficult to draw the line between use, dependence and abuse. But when the warning signs become unavoidable, the most important thing a spouse can do is confront the issue, and not allow things to spiral out of control.

Alcoholism has been a driving factor in an untold number of divorces, but simply getting away from an alcoholic spouse is not the end of the problem for families with kids. Courts often award both parents parenting time, but when an ex-spouse has legitimate concerns that the other parent’s alcoholism could be endangering the safety of the children, they should take whatever steps necessary to expose the problem for the well-being of the children.

This could include documenting incidents of alcohol abuse, and as always, the more concrete the better. For this reason, video evidence may be best, but also having corroborating witnesses and any criminal history relating to alcohol use can carry a great deal of weight in court.

People with concerns about an alcoholic spouse should always enlist the help of an experienced family law attorney, who, if necessary, can help make the case that child custody with an alcoholic spouse may endanger the well-being of the children.

Source: Huffington Post, “The Relationship Between Alcoholism And Divorce” Susan Saper Galamba, Feb. 1, 2013


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