A parent with substance abuse issues can unintentionally do a lot of damage to their children. Whether you have tried to work around your spouse’s addiction for years or only recently learned about it, you probably already sense the damage that their behavior could cause your children.
Filing for divorce may be the easiest way to get your children out of a toxic environment and protect yourself from the negative consequences of your spouse’s addiction. Unfortunately, divorce doesn’t result in a clean break when you share children.
The Texas family courts want to keep both parents involved because they typically see that as what is in the best interests of the children. Careful planning and documentation are crucial if you hope to protect your children from the potential damage and ongoing risk created by your ex’s chemical dependence.
Addiction hurts parenting ability
Depending on the kind of substance your spouse most frequently abuses, addiction can mean massive expenses, interactions with criminal elements and loss of the capacity to safely parent. Many drugs, ranging from alcohol to heroin, leave someone in a situation where they cannot safely respond to an emergency or drive their children somewhere.
Your children could also learn very bad habits from a spouse who puts substance abuse ahead of their adult responsibilities unless you can shield them from the ugly reality of addiction. There is plenty of research affirming how addiction can damage parenting skills and negatively impact children.
Rather than trying to focus on the dangers of the addiction, you will instead need to show that you were spouse is not in control of their drinking or drug use and the impact it has had or could have on the kids.
How do you prove that someone else has an addiction?
Trying to establish your spouse’s addiction in court likely won’t be easy. Once they realize your intention, they may try to lie to the courts or find some quick solution, like attending an inpatient treatment program for a single weekend.
Records including hospitalization reports, arrest records and even documents from your children’s school could help show that your spouse’s addiction is a known concern or that it has had an impact on your children’s health and development.
If you can show the courts that the substance abuse is a current issue and that it leaves you concerned for the well-being of your children, they may decide to give you sole custody or limit the parenting time your ex can have until they deal with their substance abuse problems.