Decisions about who should get custody of a child are often difficult in divorce cases. When one parent has a substance abuse problem, custody can be even more complicated.
Does substance abuse affect child custody in Illinois?
How substance abuse can affect child custody
Illinois law allows courts to restrict the parenting time and responsibilities of a parent whose substance abuse puts a child’s physical, moral or mental health or emotional development at risk. Courts may order the parent to avoid using or possessing illegal substances before and during parenting time.
The court may require the parent to complete a drug or alcohol treatment program. It may also require that another responsible adult be present during parenting time. In some cases, the court may mandate that anyone who enables the substance abuse of the parent not be present during parenting or deny the parent any parenting time or responsibilities.
Substance abuse that develops after a child custody agreement
If a parent develops a substance abuse problem that puts a child at risk after a custody agreement is in force, the other parent may petition the court to modify the custody agreement. Additionally, parents with restricted parenting time or responsibilities because of substance abuse may petition the court to lift the restrictions if they can demonstrate that their substance abuse is no longer a risk to the child’s safety or health.
In cases where a parent has a substance abuse problem, the courts may restrict that person’s parenting rights. However, there must be evidence that the substance abuse poses a threat to the child.