If you’re a parent in recovery from drug addiction in New Jersey, chances are good that you’re facing some unique challenges when it comes to child custody. And while it’s certainly not impossible to overcome these challenges, it’s important to be aware of them to be better prepared to navigate the process.
How courts typically respond to parental substance abuse
When making any decision regarding minors, courts often put the child’s best interests over everything else. In the context of child custody, this means that courts will often be reluctant to award custody to a parent struggling with addiction unless that parent can demonstrate that they have made significant progress in their recovery and are now capable of providing a safe and stable home for their child.
This doesn’t mean, however, that the family law judge will automatically rule against parents in recovery from addiction. Instead, they will decide each case on its own merits. For example, courts will often look at the severity of the addiction, how long the parent has been in recovery, whether the parent has successfully completed a treatment program and whether the parent has a solid support system in place.
It’s also important to keep in mind that courts are generally more willing to award custody to a parent in recovery if their addiction has never led to a criminal conviction. If that’s the case, you may have a better chance of getting a fair share of parenting time or legal custody than a parent who does have a criminal record.
Child custody can be tricky if you’re a parent struggling with addiction. But by being honest about your addiction, demonstrating your commitment to recovery and showing that you have the best interest of your child in your heart, you can give yourself the best possible chance of maintaining or securing custody of your child.