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Custody Challenges with an Addicted Co-Parent

If you have decided to move forward with a divorce because your partner is dealing with ongoing addiction issues, it can take an emotional toll on the whole family. You may be experiencing feelings of shame, resentment, sadness, and anger towards your partner for his or her role in the breakdown of your marriage. Your first instinct may be to protect your children and rush to claim custody, thinking it is what is best for your children. However, this may not be the best course of action, as the stress and turmoil of a full-scale child custody battle can leave lasting emotional scars.

Consider the following scenarios before entering into a custody battle:

  • Custody battles can affect your children. Bitter custody disputes can have a serious impact on the emotional well-being of the children. In fact, according to research done by Massachusetts General Hospital, children who have experienced the stress of a custody battle often are at risk of experiencing emotional problems typical of those who have been neglected or abused. The study showed the following results:
    • Sixty-five percent of the children had clinical anxiety
    • Forty-four percent became physically violent
    • Thirty-one percent developed a sleep disorder
    • Twenty-seven percent became clinically depressed
    • Many also had difficulty forming friendships and some suffer from attachment disorders
  • Forced arrangements typically do not have positive outcomes. When the court decides the custody arrangements, parents are not usually happy with the outcome. This means that it is more likely that the co-parents will have to go back to court for custody modifications, usually resulting in even more animosity between the two. This also makes it that much more difficult to remain civil towards each other. As difficult as it may be, you should always try to maintain a mature, positive co-parenting relationship for the sake of the children.
  • Losing custody of a child can be particularly damaging for an addict. The stress of losing a child in a custody battle can make the road to recovery even more difficult for an individual struggling with an addiction. If the children are at risk of abuse or neglect by the parent with drug or alcohol issues, seeking sole custody may be an appropriate path, but a mature, respectful negotiation between co-parents is usually ideal.
  • Support your ex-spouse through their recovery program. There may be periods of time when you will have sole responsibility for the children while your ex-spouse is going through the steps of a recovery program. Be encouraging and supportive of his or her efforts and allow for more time with the children as he or she shows signs of progress. Consider attending family therapy or group counseling for help in working through these difficult issues. It will give you and your children the opportunity to speak about their emotions.

Towson Divorce Lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC Help Families Resolve Difficult Custody Issues

Child custody issues can be difficult, and when a co-parent has addiction issues, it can be particularly challenging and exhausting. The dedicated and compassionate Towson divorce lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC have extensive experience in negotiating these types of custody agreements. Our knowledgeable team will provide the personalized legal counsel you need to reach a positive settlement that addresses the needs of your family. For a free consultation, call us today at 443-589-0150 or contact us online. We provide legal representation throughout Baltimore County, Harford County, Carroll County and Howard County, including Towson, Essex, Columbia and Bel Air.

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