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Dealing with custody disputes and substance abuse

When one Georgia parent is dealing with drug or alcohol abuse, the other parent may be worried about their children's safety when they are around that parent. Child custody can get tricky in these situations as the court may get involved very quickly if a parent complains about the other parent's substance abuse.

Courts are usually quick to respond if a parent alleges that the other parent has a substance abuse problem, especially when it directly impacts the children. The parent can complain directly to the court that finalized the custody order or to the local child protective services agency. However, the court may only take action if it is believed that the parent's substance abuse is having a negative impact on their ability to care for the children or if the children's well-being in in danger.

In some cases, the judge overseeing the case may restrict the parent to supervised visitation only, which helps ensure that the children remain in a safe and controlled setting when the parent has contact with them. The visits may remain supervised until such parents can adequately demonstrate that they have made improvements whenit comes to taking care of their substance abuse,

If it becomes apparent during a child custody dispute that one parent has a substance abuse problem, the other parent may fear that the children will not be safe when in that parent's care. A family law attorney may advocate for the children by arguing that it is not in their best interests for the parent who has a substance abuse problem to have custody. If the children are in danger of suffering harm, the attorney may negotiate a custody agreement that calls for supervised visits only with the noncustodial parent until such time as the problem appears to be coming to an end.

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