Protecting Your Child From a Substance-Abusing Parent in Texas

Substance abuse is a serious problem that not only affects abusers’ physical and mental wellbeing, but also affects the wellbeing of those around them—especially their children. Drugs and alcohol can impair one’s ability to properly care for a child, and chronic substance abuse can even pose a threat to a child’s safety. Because of this, the Texas courts will often deny physical and legal custody to a parent with untreated drug or alcohol addictions. However, sometimes an addiction will creep up after the custody hearing, and although both parents may have been clean during the custody suit, one or both may fall victim to mind-altering substances after primary custody has already been established.

If you are the non-custodial parent and you know for certain that your child’s custodial parent is abusing drugs or alcohol, a Dallas, Texas custody attorney can help you remove your child from the situation before any harm comes to his or her physical and emotional wellbeing.

How Drug Addiction Affects Children

According to the American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress, “parental substance abuse interrupts a child’s normal development, which places [them] at a higher risk for emotional, physical, and mental health problems.” According to the same article, children of substance abuse (COA) are:

  • Three to four times more likely than others to turn to drugs or alcohol;
  • Six times more likely to witness spousal abuse than other children;
  • More prone to depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and suicide attempts than their peers;
  • More likely to suffer from physical or sexual abuse;
  • More likely to have learning disabilities, be truant from school, repeat grades, and be expelled; and
  • More likely to develop feelings of mistrust, fear, inadequacy, shame, confusion, and guilt.

Furthermore, COA tend to take on many more household responsibilities than their peers, resulting in levels of stress that cause gastrointestinal disorders, headaches, migraines, or asthma.

How to Get Your Child Away From a Drug-Abusing Parent

The best thing you can do for your child in the event that the custodial parent is abusing drugs and/or alcohol is to hire a family law attorney to help you gain full or temporary custody. In order to show the courts that you are the more stable parent, you will need to prove that the other parent is, in fact, using drugs (usually done through a drug test) and/or that their substance abuse is negatively affecting your child. You will also need to show the courts that you can provide the safe, stable environment that the other parent could not.

If drug abuse is proven, the judge may suspend visitation rights, limit custody rights, or revoke them entirely. They may order the sick parent to see a counselor and attend rehab, with the stipulation that if they do not, they will lose all parenting rights for good.

Hire a Custody Lawyer

At the Law Offices of Stephen Clark, our family law attorneys want nothing but the best for our clients and their children. If you believe that your child’s primary parent suffers from drug and/or alcohol addiction, and if you want to get your child out of his or her household before any harm comes to him or her, contact the Clark Law Group at (469) 906-2266 or online to schedule a consultation today.

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