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How Does a Past History of Substance Abuse Affect Your Getting Custody of Your Child?

If you and your spouse cannot agree on a parenting arrangement, a judge will decide on child custody based on the best interests of the child. That includes determining with which parent the child will live most of the time. The decision will be based in part on your perceived fitness as a parent and whether the child will be safe in your care. If you are dealing with a substance abuse issue or have had one in your past, the judge will consider those facts in the analysis.

Michigan law is clear that a past history of substance abuse on its own is not enough to disqualify you from rights to your children. Just because you have a history of substance use or addiction does not mean you are an unqualified parent now. There are many other factors the court will consider in making its decision.

In considering your substance abuse history, the court will certainly evaluate whether you still struggle with addiction or actively use a substance. The court will look at such factors as:

  • The last time you actively used drugs or alcohol
  • What treatment you sought and continue to undergo
  • How long you have been clean and your history of relapses
  • Whether your substance abuse ever caused harm to the child
  • Whether there is any history of your abusing the child
  • Whether you can meet the financial, mental, and physical needs of the child

If child custody is contested, your spouse may try to use your history of substance abuse as a weapon against you. The best way to combat this problem is to have a skilled divorce attorney in your corner. Your attorney will assemble the evidence needed to show the steps you have taken to turn your life around and why your history does not define who you are now or make you an unfit parent.

At Dawson Family Law, PLLC in Sterling Heights, we help parents throughout Michigan fight for their child custody rights. Contact us online or call 833-671-4445 for a free initial consultation concerning your case.

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    Sterling Heights, Michigan 48314
    Phone: 586-731-7400
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