Boost Your Case Success with Soberlink: A Family Lawyer's Guide to Mitigating Alcohol-Related Conflict

Boost Your Case Success with Soberlink: A Family Lawyer's Guide to Mitigating Alcohol-Related Conflict
Published:
May 22, 2024
|   updated:
June 1, 2024

In the realm of family law, ensuring accountability in co-parenting arrangements can be one of the most challenging aspects. Approximately 10.5% of children live with a parent who has struggled with alcohol misuse, highlighting the need for reliable monitoring systems. Enter Soberlink, a state-of-the-art alcohol monitoring system that has become a game-changer in family law due to its key features and real-time results. This article aims to guide family law professionals on how to implement Soberlink effectively.

Soberlink's Cellular 2 device and advanced report.

Soberlink: Advanced Remote Alcohol Monitoring for Family Law

Soberlink is an advanced alcohol monitoring system designed to improve accountability and safety in co-parenting situations by providing concrete evidence of sobriety, which is crucial in custody cases involving allegations of alcohol abuse. Soberlink's comprehensive system offers an innovative solution by combining technology and convenience to provide court-admissible documentation of sobriety, supporting child safety and offering peace of mind for parents.

  • Discreet and Portable Breathalyzer: Soberlink's cutting-edge breathalyzer is designed for convenience and discretion, enabling parents to prove their sobriety anytime, anywhere.
  • Instant Notification System: BAC readings are immediately transmitted to designated parties through text or email, promoting transparency and trust in custodial situations.
  • Intuitive Software: User-friendly software ensures a seamless experience that eliminates hearsay, streamlining litigation and making processes more efficient for both legal professionals and parents.
  • Facial Recognition Technology: With advanced facial recognition, Soberlink automatically verifies the identity of the person being tested, ensuring accurate and reliable results.
  • Tamper Detection Sensors: Equipped with sophisticated sensors, the system effectively detects any attempts to cheat the system, maintaining the integrity of the testing process and promoting child safety.
  • Expert In-House Support: Soberlink’s dedicated support team includes a compliance department, provides certified records, and offers expert testimony as needed, serving the needs of the family law community with over 10 years of experience.
Father and daughter reading a book together

Why Soberlink Supports the Best Interests of the Child 

Monitoring alcohol use in co-parenting situations is essential to protect the well-being of children and maintain a safe environment. Soberlink addresses this need by providing reliable, court-admissible data that ensures children are in the care of a sober parent, preventing potential disputes. This system supports the best interests of the child by fostering a safer and more stable home environment. Additionally, Soberlink helps build trust between co-parents, offering peace of mind through an objective measure of sobriety, ultimately promoting healthier co-parenting relationships. 

Implementing Soberlink in Family Law Cases

Getting Started

Introducing Soberlink to clients and stakeholders involves several key steps -

  1. A Law Professional completes the Order Language Outline.
  2. A Law Professional creates the Order.
  3. The Paying Party purchases a Device and requests a Soberlink Monitoring Agreement by following the guided steps on Soberlink’s website at www.soberlink.com/start-the-process.
  4. The Paying Party receives a link to the Soberlink Monitoring Agreement via email.
  5. The Paying Party fills in and signs their portion of the Soberlink Monitoring Agreement in accordance with the Order. The Agreement is automatically sent to the other party.
  6. The other party reviews and signs the Soberlink Monitoring Agreement.
  7. The Monitored Client calls Soberlink during business hours with the Soberlink device in hand to complete activation.

For definitions of terms and more details on the implementation process, download Soberlink’s Order Language Outline

By implementing Soberlink, family law professionals can help ensure a safer environment for the children, as the system provides reliable, real-time data on sobriety. This fosters trust between co-parents and facilitates smoother co-parenting arrangements, ultimately promoting the best interests of the child.

Lawyer and client going over documents

Legal Considerations

The admissibility of Soberlink in family court is well-supported by legal precedents and guidelines that establish its reliability and effectiveness. Soberlink has been deemed admissible under both the Frye and Daubert standards, which govern the admissibility of scientific evidence in court. The Daubert standard, established by the U.S. Supreme Court in Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, requires that scientific evidence be both relevant and reliable, considering factors such as peer review, error rates, and general acceptance in the scientific community. Soberlink meets these criteria through its advanced technology, including facial recognition, tamper detection, and real-time reporting capabilities. 

Several appellate courts have upheld the admissibility of Soberlink test results, recognizing its utility in ensuring child safety in contested custody cases. For instance, in Murphy v. Murphy (2018), the court found it had the authority to order Soberlink testing in the best interests of the child. Similarly, the device's real-time, court-admissible data helps family law judges make informed decisions, providing a factual basis for determining a parent's alcohol use and ensuring compliance with custody agreements. This makes Soberlink a valuable tool for family law professionals aiming to protect children and facilitate smoother co-parenting arrangements.

To learn more about Soberlink’s admissibility, download the third-party paper from Justice Speaker Institute.

Separated couple and their lawyers having a meeting.

Best Practices for Soberlink Usage 

Setting Expectations

Clear communication with parents about the importance and usage of Soberlink is vital. Set realistic expectations regarding the monitoring process and its impact on their co-parenting relationship. Parents should understand that consistent and accurate testing is crucial for the system to be effective.

Training and Support

Providing adequate training and support to parents using Soberlink is essential for its success. The Soberlink Best Practices document offers comprehensive guidelines on training parents, setting up the device, and troubleshooting common issues. These best practices were formulated by an expert panel to ensure the most effective use of the Soberlink system. The document highlights the importance of establishing a sustainable and manageable testing schedule, recommending three tests per day at the start of the program, which can be reduced over time with favorable results. This approach helps create a balanced accountability structure that supports the parent without overwhelming them, ultimately promoting a healthier co-parenting environment.

Continuous support and regular check-ins can help ensure compliance and address any concerns that may arise. The expert panel emphasizes the need for rational discussions in response to missed or positive tests, rather than immediate punitive measures. This method fosters a supportive environment and encourages honest communication between co-parents. By following the best practices, family law professionals can effectively implement Soberlink, ensuring a safer environment for children and facilitating smoother co-parenting arrangements. This ongoing support helps build trust between parents and provides peace of mind, knowing that there is an objective measure of sobriety being monitored.

Level 1 vs Level 2 and Why Choosing the Appropriate Program Matters

Soberlink’s Level 1 - Parenting Time Only Program is specifically designed for lower-risk cases where sobriety needs to be demonstrated only during designated parenting times. This program allows for flexible scheduling that aligns with the specific parenting time and custody exchange arrangements, ensuring that alcohol monitoring is conducted only when the parent is responsible for the child. This targeted approach is ideal for cases where the primary concern is the parent’s sobriety during their time with the child, providing an effective yet less intrusive monitoring solution.

In contrast, the Level 2 - Daily Testing Program is intended for higher-risk cases requiring more rigorous monitoring. This program mandates daily testing, regardless of whether the parent is currently with the child, to ensure continuous sobriety. Level 2 involves a more stringent schedule, typically requiring three to four tests per day, every day of the week. This comprehensive approach provides a thorough and consistent record of sobriety, making it suitable for cases where there are serious concerns about the parent’s alcohol use and its potential impact on the child’s safety and well-being. By offering these two distinct programs, Soberlink can cater to varying levels of risk and monitoring needs, ensuring appropriate and effective alcohol monitoring in family law cases. 

The Key to Optimal Scheduling

Scheduling tests correctly is crucial due to the dynamic nature of parenting time and shifting schedules. Incorrectly scheduled tests can fail to detect alcohol consumption and compromise the child's safety. According to the Level 1 Scheduling Document, it is essential to set precise testing windows and maintain a consistent testing frequency to ensure the reliability of the monitoring process.

Here are the main takeaways of the Level 1 Scheduling Document:

  • Soberlink’s Level 1 – Parenting Time Only alcohol monitoring can help family law professionals gather concrete evidence of sobriety in custody cases, but only when testing schedules are set up correctly.
  • Incorrectly scheduled alcohol monitoring tests may fail to safely identify a parent’s alcohol consumption.
  • Testing windows should be two hours which means a 1:00 PM test must be submitted between 1:00 PM and 3:00 PM.
  • Allowing more than 10 hours between tests may cause a parent’s dangerous drinking habits to go undetected.'When starting alcohol monitoring, an optimal schedule requires 3 to 4 tests per day during parenting time.
  • When starting alcohol monitoring, an optimal schedule requires 3 to 4 tests per day during parenting time.

The guide provides detailed recommendations on establishing these schedules, ensuring that all parties adhere to the agreed terms. For example, a typical schedule might include tests upon waking (5:00 AM to 7:00 AM), mid-day (1:00 PM to 3:00 PM), and before bed (9:00 PM to 11:00 PM). By following these guidelines, family law professionals can create effective monitoring schedules that enhance child safety and maintain parental accountability.

Case Studies and Testimonials

Testimonies from family law professionals, Monitored Clients, and Concerned Parties underscore the effectiveness of Soberlink. For instance, one family law attorney noted, "I trust [Soberlink] because it's an all-in-one device. You have the facial recognition built-in to a reliable breathalyzer device with real-time results. It just provides a great product for Family Law practitioners and clients.”

Forensic Therapist Dr. Aaron Robb added, "[Soberlink] is the best thing out there as far as getting accurate results." A monitored client shared, "The disease of addiction is really powerful, more powerful than me. I'll do anything that it takes to prove that I'm being honest because I want to be able to be with my child and raise my child."

A Concerned Party said, "I know I'm going to get this ‘bing’ that's going to tell me whether or not he's been drinking alcohol and that my kids are safe with him." These real-life examples illustrate how Soberlink can positively impact co-parenting arrangements and enhance the overall safety and well-being of children.

Conclusion

In summary, Soberlink offers a robust solution for monitoring alcohol use in co-parenting situations, providing real-time, court-admissible data that ensures accountability and safety. Its ease of use and flexibility make it an invaluable tool for family law professionals.

Family law professionals are encouraged to consider incorporating Soberlink into their practice to enhance case success and promote safer co-parenting arrangements. By implementing Soberlink correctly, lawyers can provide their clients with the tools they need to navigate complex custody cases more effectively.

For more information or to start implementing Soberlink in your practice, visit soberlink.com/divorce/family-law or contact Soberlink’s National Sales Manager, Mike Fonseca, at mf@soberlink.com.

 

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