New Jersey family courts make decisions based on what is in the best interest of the child. A parent with a known drug or alcohol abuse problem will likely not receive primary, or in some cases, any type of child custody. In fact, the parent with the addiction may not be able to see their children unless they are supervised during visits. Various other factors go into the court’s decisions regarding child custody and a parent’s substance abuse.

Parents with a Record of Drug Addiction

Having a record of addiction does not necessarily completely erase the chances of a parent being awarded some type of custody. However, considerable amounts of parenting time are only granted if the addicted parent has gone through treatment, has been sober for a specific period, passes regular court-mandated drug tests, and consistently passes other requirements. A parent who is not seeking help for their addiction, or who has recently gone through treatment and shows signs of relapse or reluctance to manage the addiction, will only be granted limited visiting rights.

New Jersey Division of Child Protection and Permanency

If a parent is accused of abusing drugs, an investigation into the child’s potential neglect or abuse will start, which is quite serious. It is critical to understand that if the New Jersey Division of Child Protection and Permanency enters the equation, the parent with the addiction may be at risk of having any and all existing custody terminated or significantly reduced. Parents in this circumstance should contact a child custody lawyer as soon as possible.

Criminal Charges

Any criminal charges related to drug or alcohol abuse will most likely have a negative impact on child custody, even if the parent is the only adult available to care for the child. If a parent becomes addicted to drugs or alcohol after the divorce, custody arrangements can be modified at any time while the child is still a minor. Consequently, if a parent starts to abuse drugs or alcohol after a divorce is finalized, they can still experience negative repercussions.

Court’s Orders

In best case scenarios, custody can be re-evaluated after the addicted parent goes through rehabilitation. However, the process of regaining visitation rights and custody will not happen suddenly or overnight. The first goal for the parent is to seek treatment for their substance abuse issues. From that point, they can begin the treatment and healing process. Though this can feel like a nightmare to the parent, it is a responsible way to regain visitation rights, if not full custody, after going through addiction treatment and learning how to manage it.

Contact our New Jersey attorneys at 856-751-5505 for your free consultation.