Child Custody During and After Residential Inpatient Treatment

Losing children can be a heart-wrenching experience for people who attend residential inpatient treatment. However, residential inpatient treatment can help addicts become better parents who are actually able to care for their children. In fact, going through drug or alcohol rehab is often the first step in restoring visitation rights and eventual custody. Addicts who want the best for their children should learn as much as possible about the effects addiction and residential inpatient treatment will have on their parental rights.

Judges Considerations

Judges consider a variety of factors in custody cases involving addicts. They typically take the substance or substances abused into account. For example, meth addicts are usually less likely to gain visitation rights than alcoholics. These kinds of considerations may be based on the available addiction research, but they can also be influenced by assumptions and stereotypes of certain drugs. Local legal considerations may also be taken into account. For instance, judges in places where medical marijuana is legal may be more lenient on pot smokers than judges from other states.

The length and severity of addiction are also important. Parents who have recently developed minor alcohol addictions or casual drug habits are still endangering their children – but not nearly as much as severely dependent addicts. Judges may also take into consideration the number of times a parent has relapsed, as well as their previous efforts at rehabilitation. Final decisions vary, but in general – the less severe the drug problem, the more likely an addict is to get visitation rights.

Possible Decisions

Evidence which proves a parent’s drug habits usually causes them to lose all visitation rights. If they previously held custody or joint custody, those rights are transferred to the other parent or a different guardian. There are a variety of ways the situation can proceed from there.

In some cases, addicts who immediately agree to undergo residential inpatient treatment will be considered for visitation rights upon completion. They won’t be able to see their kids while they receive therapy, but their chances of doing so afterwards are much higher. If they fail to seek treatment within one year, however, they will typically end up losing all of their parental rights. Overall, divorced addicts with children need to get clean as quickly as possible if they ever want to spend time with their children.

Child Custody During and After Residential Inpatient Treatment

Court-Ordered Drug Testing

Judges will sometimes order addicts to undergo random drug tests for a certain time after their custody cases. Consistently passing them can lead to increased visitation rights, and the requirement for testing may be totally eliminated after long periods of sobriety. On the other hand, failing drug tests will not only lead to elimination of parental rights – it can cause additional legal problems. Addicted parents who are found to be under the influence of illegal substance may be returned to rehab, but they could also face prison time.

When Both Parents Have Problems

In some cases, both parents are deemed unfit for custody. All United States courts apply the standard of what is best for the child, but interpretations of this principle vary wildly. If one parent suffers from addiction while the other faces investigations from child protective services, the addict will often still lose – but not always. When both parents are drug addicts, however, the severities of their addictions will be compared along with their other qualities and faults. One of them may get custody, but some cases end with parental rights going to a third party.

If you’re a parent struggling with addiction, there is no time to waste. You might not be fit to care for your children at the moment, but there could be far worse consequences if you don’t get clean. Call the number at top of the screen now, and talk to one of our dedicated representatives about enrolling in a residential inpatient treatment program as soon as possible.

About James F. Davis

James F. Davis, CAS, is a Board Certified Interventionist and the founder of Recovery First. Inc. Davis is also an expert on Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS) - the leading cause of relapse among addicts and alcoholics. Mr. Davis operates a website dedicated to sufferers of Post Acute Withdrawal, and has published the first-ever survey on the condition. Davis is also the author of two upcoming books on the topics of PAWS and Adult Children of Alcoholics. You can contact Mr. Davis directly via his Google+ Page, via the Facebook page for Recovery First, or by writing to editor@recoveryfirst.org

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