A lot of things can change in the years and even months after your child custody order goes into place. While modifying a custody order isn’t something most parents (and judges) want to do on a frequent basis, sometimes it’s warranted.
For example, it’s not uncommon for divorcing spouses to have substance abuse issues. These contribute to the end of a lot of marriages. If your alcoholism was a factor in your divorce, your co-parent may have been granted sole custody of your child. You may have been allowed only limited and supervised visitation – particularly if there were instances where your drinking put your child at risk of harm. That’s not unusual in these cases to protect the child’s safety and well-being.
If you’re now in recovery and have been sober for some period, you may feel like you’re ready to assume shared custody of your child. What’s important to remember is that this likely won’t happen as quickly as you’d like.
You’ll need to prove to a judge that this is a change that will last and that you can be a responsible parent. It also helps to have your co-parent on your side. Only a judge can change the custody order, however.
How do you make your case for more parental responsibility?
Every situation is unique. However, you’ll likely need to provide evidence that:
- You’ve been sober for an extended period. There’s no set timeframe, but the longer, the better.
- You’re in a recovery program and have professionals and others who can testify to your commitment.
- You have a support system of friends and family who can help you, even if supervision isn’t required.
Most of all, you need to convince a judge and potentially a social worker or other professionals that your child will be safe and well cared for with you.
You may be required to use an alcohol monitoring system where you blow into a device to prove your sobriety either on a regular basis or before and during your parenting time. No matter how you feel about doing this, it may be necessary, at least for a time, to get more access to your child.
If you want to seek a modification to your child custody order after getting sober, your best first step is to make sure you have sound legal guidance. This can help improve your chances of success.