People in Maryland and the DC area may have seen a recent article about the role of alcohol in a marriage, and how the line between use and abuse can mean jeopardizing not only the health of the marriage, but also the relationship a parent enjoys with a child. A parent with an alcohol or drug addiction may lose their right to child custody after a divorce if the court finds that the safety and best interests of a child are endangered by spending time with the alcoholic parent.
Of course, addiction can be a tricky thing, one that can take many busy parents and spouses by surprise after many years of use build up to dependence. Alcohol is far and away the biggest substance abuse problem in the United States today, so people struggling with their own addiction or a spouse’s addiction are not alone, and have a number of support mechanisms available to them if they are willing to confront and address the problem.
If a family is unable to deal with an alcohol problem, sometimes a divorce is inevitable, which, unfortunately, can exacerbate alcohol use as people try to cope with the emotional turmoil of losing a spouse.
Divorcing spouses with children need to be able to work out a plan for their children after the split, but alcohol abuse can compromise this as well if a judge finds that legal custody with an alcoholic parent could endanger their safety. However, child custody is a sacred right, and not one that the court is likely to deny to a parent without a strong showing of evidence.
Source: Huffington Post “The Relationship Between Alcoholism And Divorce” Susan Saper Galamba, Feb. 1, 2013