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How Can My Spouse’ Substance Abuse Impact My Child Custody Case?

 Posted on October 26, 2023 in Child Custody

drinking-driving.jpgWhen parents are in a bitter divorce or custody battle, crafting a parenting plan that meets their child's needs becomes more complex. It gets even tougher when one parent accuses the other of substance abuse. When one parent questions the other's fitness, finding a mutual solution can be challenging. Our legal team excels in handling such complex child custody cases, advocating for our clients before mediators, arbitrators, or judges. You need a skilled Texas attorney who can deal with such intricate cases.

Can a DUI Charge Affect Child Custody in Texas?

As a parent, your child's safety is your top priority. Every year, tragic accidents occur in Texas due to drunk driving, which raises serious concerns about the safety and well-being of a child if a parent is facing DUI charges. If you are going through a child custody battle or a divorce and discover that your soon-to-be ex-spouse is arrested for DUI, this could impact custody, even if your child was not in the car at the time of the DUI arrest.

What is the Role of a Guardian ad Litem?

In Texas family courts, when a judge is deciding on child custody matters and one parent is dealing with DUI charges, a guardian ad litem, a special attorney, is typically appointed to investigate the situation and represent the child's best interests. The attorney’s primary goal is to provide the judge with a comprehensive report and recommendations. Here are some key tasks that a guardian ad litem may undertake:

  • Interviews with both parents to gather information about their parenting abilities and concerns.
  • Interviews with all family members to understand the family dynamics.
  • Investigation into the routine of the parent facing DUI charges and the child's daily schedule to assess whether the child's safety and well-being may be compromised.

The guardian ad litem has the authority to make unannounced visits to a parent's home and may also visit the child at school to evaluate their environment. They will look for any signs that could indicate potential safety or well-being issues. This could involve inspecting the home and vehicle for evidence of substance abuse and conducting random drug and alcohol tests with short notice.

Would Changes Could be Made in Child Custody?

If there is a history of alcohol or substance abuse or if the child was present during the DUI arrest, a social worker may also become involved in Texas. In such cases, Texas courts tend to impose stricter penalties, including supervised visitation or even revoking custody of a parent who is convicted of a DUI. A DUI conviction can impact future custody proceedings. The other parent might use it as leverage to request restrictions on your parenting time or even seek to terminate your rights.

Schedule a Consultation with an Austin, TX Child Custody Lawyer

To protect your rights and ensure the best interests of your child are safeguarded, it is crucial to hire a Travis County, TX complex custody attorney on your side.  At Powers and Kerr, PLLC, we have more than 175 years of combined experience in advising and advocating for our clients. Call 512-610-6199 for a consultation. We are here to help you navigate the complexities of Texas child custody laws.


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