Florida law allows both parents to be awarded time with their children after a divorce or separation. But, if a parent is found unfit, they may have limited time sharing, supervised visits or not be granted any visitation. Behaviors that pose a risk to the child - such as neglect, sexual or physical abuse and a history of domestic violence - often result in these limited visitations. Substance abuse problems can also compromise a parent’s ability to care for their child; therefore, the court may consider that parent unfit for custody and limit their visitation. If you suspect your ex or co-parent of substance abuse issues, proving it in court is not as easy as you may think - and the law is unclear as to how the courts should treat these situations.
Proving Your AllegationsIf you allege that your spouse has a drug or alcohol problem, you will need to prove it. Florida courts are required to take all substance abuse allegations seriously, but they will require evidence that the co-parent does have a substance abuse problem. Because this type of allegation is often used falsely to attempt how much time one parent spends with the children, the courts will heavily scrutinize your evidence. If you suspect your co-parent of drug or alcohol abuse, you will want to discuss your concerns with your divorce attorney. Then, your attorney will take several steps to prove that there is a valid substance abuse problem, such as:
- Request an order from the court for alcohol or drug tests;
- Showing evidence that there is a history of substance abuse;
- Providing witness testimony;
- Requesting the appointment of an advocate for the children called a Guardian Ad Litem