Parents who have struggled with alcoholism often find themselves fighting for custody of their children. Even parents who have stopped drinking and sought treatment and/or entered a 12-step program can have a difficult time convincing their ex-spouse, judges and others who play a role in making these decisions that they can be trusted to care for their children.
This can be particularly difficult if they have a history of neglecting or endangering their children when they were drinking. Even when children aren’t put in immediate risk by a parent’s drinking, research has shown that kids with parents who are dealing with substance abuse are more likely to suffer from depression, anxiety and other disorders. They are also more likely to have problems in school and on standardized tests.
If you’re dealing with this issue, you aren’t alone. One study found that alcohol was a factor in half of all custody cases.
So, how can you prove your commitment to sobriety to your co-parent and others who have a say in how much you get to be with your kids? One option is remote alcohol monitoring. It involves a Breathalyzer-type tool that measures and reports a person’s blood alcohol content (BAC) to the court and other designated parties.
Parents may agree on or courts may order different types of testing. Sometimes, it is done daily or randomly so that a person can prove that they are remaining sober. In other instances, it’s required only around parenting time, and a parent only has to prove that they aren’t under the influence while they’re with their children.
It’s understandable that you may resent having to prove your sobriety to be able to spend time with your children — particularly if you’ve had a contentious divorce. However, alcohol monitoring is an excellent way to obtain greater custody and visitation rights and build a solid relationship with your children. Your family law attorney can tell you more about remote alcohol monitoring options.