Child custody can be a contentious issue even in the most amicable of divorces. The problem only worsens when alcohol abuse is involved. Specifically, it can be a point of contention in three different ways:
None of these issues are cut and dry because the following questions will come up:
(1) Can you prove that the parent is, in fact, alcohol dependent?
(2) Is one parent accusing the other without merit?
(3) What effect does any drinking during visits have on the child’s well-being?
Proving alcoholism in custody cases is relatively easy in certain situations– for example, if the parent has a recent history of alcohol-related arrests and/or they are attending a court-mandated treatment program. Some will also admit that they have a problem during court proceedings and enter treatment voluntarily. If neither of these things happens, most “evidence” will be based on hearsay. In the worst-case scenario, the child becomes the informant, “spying” on the accused parent and reporting back to the other — which can be severely damaging to all involved.