When a major contributing factor in your decision to end your marriage is the belief that your spouse has a substance abuse problem, the decision to file for divorce can be very stressful. Knowing that the very structure of your family will fundamentally change and the decisions made will change your future can often cause fear, anger, and anxiety.
It is not enough for one of the partners to accuse the other of substance abuse. The law states: “Before considering these allegations, the court may first require independent corroboration, including, but not limited to written reports from law enforcement agencies, courts, probation departments, social welfare agencies, medical facilities, rehabilitation facilities, or other public agencies or nonprofit organizations providing drug and alcohol abuse services…” There must be persons or agencies that verify that there is a substance abuse problem.
In some cases, there may be a document which can easily corroborate the allegations; in others, it may be a bit more difficult. If it can otherwise be shown by a preponderance of the evidence that there is habitual or continual abuse of alcohol by a parent, a judge may order that parent to undergo testing for the use of alcohol. If such testing is ordered, it must be done by the least intrusive means. Further, the parent against whom the allegations are made (and thus who is ordered to submit to the test) has a right to a hearing to challenge the results. A positive test cannot alone be the determinative factor in a custody and visitation ruling; the court is still required to balance all factors to determine the best interests of the children.
Frequently, a former spouse with substance abuse problems may have difficulty keeping up with child support payments. A spouse who has a substance abuse problem cannot work or may have problems keeping a job. This can affect his or her ability to pay child support and alimony. He or she may also present a danger to the children, especially if while under the influence the spouse becomes violent and a domestic violence situation arises.
If you think your spouse has a substance abuse problem, a family lawyer can help provide assistance and help you determine a course of action that will insure safe and secure future for you and your family.
If you have a question regarding Family Law in Southern California please contact us at (818) 926-4420 or visit the Family Law section on our website at Law Offices of Anat Resnik. Call today and we will connect you with Anat Resnik, an experienced, aggressive, affordable Divorce and Family Law Attorney in Southern California. After you have spoken with our Southern California Family Law attorney, we can schedule you a free face to face appointment to discuss your circumstances. If you have questions or are considering any aspect of filing for Divorce, a Paternity issues, Child Custody and Visitation, Spousal Support & Alimony, etc. we can help! Call us now at(818) 926-4420. We look forward to hearing from you and assisting you with any and all family law needs.