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Will your alcohol use hurt your chances at custody in divorce?

| Aug 2, 2017 | Blog |

During a divorce, custody of minor children often becomes a contentious issue. Spouses may not agree on a parenting plan, child support levels or even how to split up holidays after the divorce. If you aren’t able to agree to specific terms, the courts will generally decide. That means that you and your spouse will each be trying to convince the courts that you should have primary or even full custody of your children. Any misbehavior or past legal troubles could get dragged into court as a means of proving you shouldn’t have custody of your children. That can include alcohol use.

The courts will do everything they can to act in the best interest of your children, which typically includes having a relationship with both parents, except in cases of abuse. Your spouse, in turn, may try to convince the courts that the best interest of your child doesn’t include shared custody. If you drink regularly, even if you don’t drink to excess, your spouse may use that to show the courts that she is the more responsible parent or even that you shouldn’t see your children. Anything from bar receipts to a driving while intoxicated charge from your college years could come back to cause issues for you.

The courts often frown on alcohol use in front of kids

Nebraska law frowns on the consumption of alcohol or illegal drugs while the custodial parent of a minor child. If there is evidence that you were under the influence while caring for your children, it can make the process of getting custody more complicated. Just because you drink occasionally or socially doesn’t mean you can’t be an excellent parent and competently share custody.

However, you will need to consider the potential impact past behaviors could have on the custody process. It is possible to demonstrate your parenting abilities despite any claims made by your spouse during divorce.

Proactive measures

You can take proactive steps, such as agreeing to a parenting plan that states you will not drink while your children are in your custody. You may complete a substance abuse program or enter counseling to show the courts your efforts to reform past behaviors. If the courts request that you complete a parenting class, agreeing to that can also help.

Complying with court requests establishes that you’re willing to work on issues and yourself to become a better parent. It shows a willingness to try and a dedication to the welfare of your children.

Typically, the courts want to ensure that both parents have an ongoing relationship with the children. No matter how contentious things are with you and your spouse, remember that you want to act in the best interest of the children.

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