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Substance Abuse & Child Custody in Texas

Substance Abuse

Many children in Texas are affected by parents who abuse drugs or alcohol, or both. According to the Children’s Bureau, a government organization, an estimated 12 percent of children in the United States are living with a parent who abuses alcohol or drugs. The concern is the impact substance abuse has on children. As such, it is well-documented that when a parent has a substance abuse problem, it can affect parenting.

The Children’s Bureau says that a parent with substance use disorder may be ineffective or inconsistent at parenting due to:

  • Physical impairments caused by drugs or alcohol
  • Reduced ability to respond to a child’s needs
  • Difficulty controlling one’s anger
  • Difficulty controlling one’s emotions
  • Disruption in the healthy attachment between parent and child
  • Spending the family’s funds on drugs and alcohol instead of buying basic necessities like food, etc.
  • Spending time drinking alcohol or using drugs
  • Incarceration, which can cause the child to be inadequately supervised

“The way parents with substance use disorders behave and interact with their children can have a multifaceted impact on the children. The effects can be both indirect (e.g., through a chaotic living environment) and direct (e.g., physical or sexual abuse). Parental substance use can affect parenting, prenatal development, and early childhood and adolescent development.,” according to the Children’s Bureau.

Can Substance Abuse Lead to Loss of Custody?

If a parent is alleging that their child’s other parent has a substance abuse problem, it can have a major impact on the using parent’s rights. For example, if you are getting a divorce and you’re concerned that shared physical custody would place your child in harm’s way because your spouse abuses drugs or alcohol, the court may find that your spouse’s substance abuse can harm your children or at least place them at risk.

If the judge is convinced that your spouse abuses drugs or alcohol and it negatively impacts the best interest of your children, it can cause their parental rights to be limited, or in severe cases, your spouse’s parental rights may be revoked indefinitely.

Whether you’re accused of abusing drugs or alcohol or if you’re concerned about your spouse’s addiction and how it may impact custody, contact Hunt Law Firm, PLLC for help.