How to Choose an Alcohol Monitoring System for Co-Parenting

A meeting about choosing an alcohol monitoring system for co-parenting
May 27, 2020
|   updated:
November 14, 2023

When you or your client are navigating shared custody while recovering from alcohol abuse, you look for a way to ensure the children are safe and rebuild trust. Parents struggling with alcohol abuse aren’t alone. The 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health found an estimated 10.6 million adults aged 26 and older abused or were dependent on alcohol within the previous year.

A telehealth tool that can help you or your client is an alcohol monitoring system. Remote testing can provide real-time information on a parent’s sobriety every day or during their parenting time. The other parent and interested parties can be assured the children are in good hands — or notified if the parent sends a positive test. Soberlink can restore trust among co-parents while giving those in recovery a chance to maintain safe, healthy, and happy relationships with their children.

Types of Alcohol Monitoring

Types of alcohol monitoring include urine analysis, blood testing, ignition interlock devices (IID), and transdermal devices (ankle bracelets). Urine and blood testing require you or your client to go to a laboratory storefront, which isn’t practical during the COVID-19 pandemic. Even without coronavirus concerns, they don’t provide real-time results. Urine and blood testing results can take 1 to 5 days.

Most alcohol monitoring devices are large, intrusive, and used for probation. The results are intended for law enforcement authorities — not parents who are concerned with their children’s immediate environment. The best option for you is a non-invasive, handheld remote alcohol monitoring system.

Store-Bought vs. Professional Devices

You might consider purchasing an alcohol testing device from a store. But these non-professional tools don’t reassure parents and family law judges. There’s no way to prove the results are accurate and reliable or that the parent took the test without tampering with the machine or the results. There’s also no trusted way to send the outcome to the other parent or track a history of results.

Technology to Look for in an Alcohol Monitoring System

Alcohol Monitoring System Checklist

Not all alcohol monitoring systems on the market provide the quality and features that are important during a shared custody arrangement.

Facial Recognition

Remote testing is only trustworthy if the other parent and courts can be confident the parent with a recorded or alleged history of alcohol abuse is testing their breath. Some devices require parents to use their phone to take a photo or record themselves taking the test. But streaming video through the device provider’s app introduces cybersecurity and privacy concerns. Additionally, a photo or video has to be verified by the other parent or the provider’s employee, which takes time.

Soberlink is the only alcohol monitoring system using adaptive facial recognition. The software has over 25 years of development behind it and is used in over 100 countries. The technology automatically recognizes the parent, ensuring that it is the right person who is taking the test. There’s rarely any delay in waiting for someone else to verify a photo or video.

Real-Time Results

The other parent or interested party wants to know the results of a breath test right away, especially because child safety is involved. After each test with Soberlink, all of the interested parties can receive an immediate notification of a compliant or positive result. If the parent tests positive for alcohol, the Soberlink system requires them to retest every 15 minutes up to six times.

Tamper Detection

Parents and family law attorneys want confidence that the remote alcohol monitoring system can’t be altered in the recovering parent’s favor. A parent can’t alter the device or the results because of Soberlink’s tamper detection technology. Multiple internal sensors are designed to detect attempts at beating the system.

FDA Clearance

Soberlink has FDA 510(k) medical clearance. The FDA has approved Soberlink’s safe, accurate, and reliable technology, which enables parents to use it as evidence in family court.

Easy to Read Reports

Reporting data from alcohol monitoring should be easy to digest and analyze, Is the parent always testing compliant? Are there patterns in the parent’s drinking habits? Soberlink’s unique Advanced Reporting™ uses artificial intelligence to generate a history of results in an easy-to-read format. No other alcohol monitoring system uses this type of technology to create reports that are easy to understand or can be used in family court. Soberlink offers straightforward, intuitive reports.

Discreet Device Options

A common issue with alcohol monitoring systems is that they aren’t convenient. Many systems use table-top devices that aren’t small or discreet enough to travel. Parents want to run errands with their kids or take them out for fun activities, like the park, swimming, or the movies. A device that’s too large can hinder a person’s parenting time and reduce compliance.

Soberlink offers two devices: A smart Connect™ Device that pairs with a smartphone or an all-in-one Cellular Device a parent can use without an Apple or Android phone. Both are small enough to carry in public.

Market Experience Since 2010

Soberlink has a decade of experience in all alcohol monitoring markets, including criminal justice, addiction recovery, workplace compliance, and family law. Soberlink is the only professional remote testing device that centers its products and services on helping people in their recovery and child custody matters.

Alcohol Monitoring Contracts for Co-Parents

Alcohol Monitoring Contracts for Co-Parents

Soberlink understands families benefit from a schedule and clear expectations, which is why it uses contracts. A monitoring agreement outlines the proper use of the alcohol monitoring technology. It delineates everyone’s roles and expectations, which reduces ambiguities, inconsistencies, and the chance of future disagreements.

Partner with a Trusted and Proven Alcohol Monitoring System

Of all the remote testing options for parents, none offer a reputation and support network equal to Soberlink.


The use of Soberlink testing results has gained wide acceptance in family courts across the country, and results are admissible to establish a parent’s use or abstinence from alcohol.


Over the years, Soberlink has established a strong reputation with treatment providers across the country. Parents can be confident that Soberlink encourages best practices for alcohol recovery and child custody.

About the Author

Soberlink supports accountability for sobriety through a comprehensive alcohol monitoring system. Combining a breathalyzer with wireless connectivity, the portable design and technology includes facial recognition, tamper detection and real-time reporting. Soberlink proves sobriety with reliability to foster trust and peace of mind.

Learn More About Soberlink

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