Whenever possible, Georgia law encourages children to have continued contact with both parents after a divorce. This assumes that continuing this contact is in the child’s best interest. If a parent is one of the 13.8 million adults in this country affected by alcoholism, however, a critical issue during the divorce will become whether it is possible for the child to continue a safe relationship with the parent facing alcohol addiction.
On one hand, anything that impacts a child’s welfare will be considered in light of the child’s best interest. Having a close relationship with a person who struggles with addiction can end up having a negative impact on children. On the other hand, it is also important for children to continue relationships with both parents after a divorce.
In many cases, the addicted parent must directly handle his or her addiction issues before it becomes possible to arrange any type of visitation schedule with the child.
The Role of Parenting Plans
In situations involving addiction as well as many other cases, parenting plans can be invaluable. Parenting plans are detailed documents that establish care-taking and how parental decisions will be made.
These plans also often address living arrangements for the child and how the child will split time between parents. If parents cannot agree on and create a parenting agreement, the court will often either create one or modify a plan that has been submitted by the parents to the court review.
How Parenting Plans can be Utilized
Many parents who have dealt with alcohol addiction in this scenario have found parenting plans helpful. Some of the most common clauses that are included in parenting plans are:
- Prohibiting the parent with alcohol addiction from having any electronic or physical contact with the child. Other times, the parent might be permitted visitation with the child but not given any decision-making powers.
- Allowing the parent with addiction issues to only visit the child while a third party supervises.
- Prohibiting overnight visits with the addicted parent. Or, only allowing visitation in time-shared public locations or visitation centers.
- Restricting child transportation in a vehicle operated by the addicted parent.
- Restricting the addicted parent from gun ownership or physical discipline of the child.
- Requiring the addicted parent to not drink alcohol for 24 hours before any type of interaction with the child.
- Requiring the addicted parent to receive alcohol testing, treatment, or any other type of therapy to keep addiction under control.
A knowledgeable lawyer can better review the facts of your case and determine what arrangements would likely be best and safest for any child that is involved. If you are a parent who has been accused of alcohol addiction, it can also help to speak with an attorney about whether a parenting plan is reasonable.
Contact an Experienced Family Law Attorney
If the parenting plan fails to work or if other challenges arise with the custody process, you should not hesitate to speak with an experienced family law attorney. Contact Vayman & Teitelbaum P.C. today to schedule a free case evaluation.