The Importance of a Concerned Party in Self-Represented Custody Cases Involving Substance Abuse

The Importance of a Concerned Party in Self-Represented Custody Cases Involving Substance Abuse
December 23, 2021
|   updated:
July 21, 2023

What does it mean to be a parent? While some people may argue it’s purely biological, anyone who has held the role knows it goes far beyond nature. A parent’s responsibility is to nurture, provide, and above all else, protect, even if it means shielding their little ones from themselves.

One in 10 children is exposed to substance abuse. Growing up in a chaotic and unpredictable living environment can induce emotional conditions such as chronic stress. Custody cases can further exacerbate this condition. A child may lose access to a parent due to alcohol misuse, creating feelings of abandonment. Therefore, having a Concerned Party is instrumental in executing a successful alcohol monitoring plan, so a child can maintain contact with both parents while remaining protected.

The Role of a Concerned Party

Father holding child in a custody battle

The Concerned Party’s function is to operate in the child’s best interest, including receiving alcohol monitoring test results. In a Family Court case, this can be an ex-spouse, guardian, or Involved Party’s legal representative.

For Concerned Party Wendy, safeguarding the emotional and physical well-being of her 10-year-old niece is non-negotiable. Family Court granted her custody because the girl’s father is deceased, and the mother suffers from drug and alcohol abuse.

Visitation between Wendy’s niece and her mother had ceased due to concerns of alcohol consumption after smelling alcohol during drop-off visits. Under the suggestion of the Guardian Ad Litem, Wendy agreed to the use of the Soberlink remote breathalyzer, so her niece could resume visitation.

Parenthood is its own unique challenge. Add custody hearings and an ex-spouse or family member with alcohol addiction, and parenting can feel nearly impossible. You must battle not only the stressors of daily living but also the constant pressure of keeping your child away from harm’s grip. However, alcohol testing devices like Soberlink can resolve these concerns with a customized testing schedule.

“I thought she’d find a way around this,” says Wendy. “And then we got the results instantly. She would send them an hour before the visit, and it was just nice.”

Establish Boundaries in a Co-parenting Relationship

Asian Child Walking Hand in Hand with Parents

Though initially skeptical about Soberlink, Wendy knew she had made the right decision after receiving her first email that there wouldn’t be a visit because her niece’s mother didn’t perform the test. The girl’s mother argued that she didn’t have time to set it up and wanted to proceed with the visit.

Soberlink made enforcing boundaries with the Monitored Party simple. After the customer service department informed Wendy that the setup of the alcohol testing device only took five minutes, she stood firm in her choice to terminate the visit. “That could have saved us,” she says.

That was the only instance that the girl’s mother failed to cooperate throughout the duration of the six-month time frame. She realized if she wanted to see her daughter, she would need to take the test.

Help Children Feel Safe Again

Security can feel elusive for children with a parent suffering from substance abuse. Without the proper accountability, waiting for the next alcohol slip-up is no longer a question of when their parent will start drinking but how bad will it be.

Soberlink not only provided Wendy with peace of mind but also helped her niece feel safe spending time alone with her mother. “I know that I’m going to be safe with mommy,” Wendy recalls her niece saying to her one day. “And that to me was more than I could have ever given her myself,” says Wendy.

Strengthen Your Custody Case with Reliable Evidence

Image of a cellphone showing Soberlink alcohol monitoring test result

Before using Soberlink, Wendy had no way of knowing if her niece’s mom had consumed alcohol prior to her niece’s visit. However, it was crucial that her niece maintained a relationship with her mother. Soberlink allowed Wendy to drop her niece off without worrying whether she would become injured in a car accident – or worse. Features like facial recognition and tamper detection helped her feel confident that the results were accurate.

“You cannot bypass and do anything with it,” Wendy explains. “It is what it is, and there’s no tampering with it. In the end, I was completely 100 percent satisfied.”

Learn More About Soberlink

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