Can I Get Custody Of My Children During Divorce If My Ex Is An Alcoholic?

Divorce Lawyer

Ensuring that a child is safe is a parent’s first priority. A person who is separating from their alcoholic husband or wife may be worried about how their children might be impacted if the other spouse receives at least partial custody. Alcoholism may be viewed as detrimental enough to the child’s well being that the court will award sole custody to the non-alcoholic parent as the verdict.

However, the parent seeking custody will need to work with a child custody lawyer in Rockville, MD and gather evidence to support their claims against the alcoholic spouse in divorce court. After hearing from both parents and reviewing evidence, the court will determine what is in the best interest of the child. 

Overview of Custody Arrangements

The court will award either sole custody to one parent, or joint custody to both. Each parent may receive physical custody, legal custody, or both. Physical custody refers to where the children are to live, and sole custody refers to which parent is responsible for making decisions about the well being of their children.

Factors of The Custody Verdict

The court may factor in alcoholism as a deciding variable when choosing which parent should get custody, especially if the addiction places the children at risk for harm when in the care of that parent. The spouse seeking custody as a component of the divorce settlement must demonstrate how giving the other parent custody would not be in the children’s best interest and health. There are many other factors that the court will consider when awarding custody, including: 

  • The income level of both parents
  • The age of the children
  • The children’s preferences (depending on their age)
  • Health of both parents
  • Whether each parent has a suitable living arrangement for the children
  • The opportunity for the child to participate in sports, hobbies, and develop friendships when living with each parent
  • Whether each parent can support their children having a relationship with the other parent

Evidence of Alcohol Addiction

If you are the spouse seeking the divorce and custody of your children because of your spouse’s alcohol problem, then you will need clear evidence that supports your claims. Your attorney can give you tips on how to best showcase your side and prove that the other spouse is not suitable to parent. Examples of proof that could influence the judge are listed as follows:

  • Photographic or video evidence of the alcoholic spouse being drunk to the point that they are being verbally or physically abusive
  • Pictures of physical injury to either you and/or your children that was inflicted by the alcohol spouse
  • Documents of past admissions into a rehabilitation program and ensuring relapses
  • Arrest records if the alcoholic spouse has ever been arrested for an alcohol-related crime (such as a DUI)
  • Witness statements from loved ones, coworkers, friends, or other parties who can attest to the alcoholic spouse’s drinking habits
  • Any other evidence that relates to the claims brought forward to the court

Thanks to Daniel J. Wright for their insight into family law and getting child custody when your ex is an alcoholic.