If My Spouse is a Substance Abuser, What Can I Do to Prevent My Children From Being Exposed to His/her Behavior?
When one spouse has a substance abuse problem, whether it’s alcohol or drugs, it’s very important to protect children and ensure their safety. In order to do that, it’s often necessary to go to court and obtain some kind of assistance. This is usually in the form of an order that prevents the parent from engaging in this behavior in the children’s presence. However, this can be hard to actually control because a lot of the times they will come home drunk, or abuse their drug of choice before returning home, and then be with the children that way afterwards which can be very dangerous and scary for them. Sometimes it might be necessary to get an order of protection and remove that parent from the home, to prevent the children’s exposure to that type of behavior.
The first step would be to contact the court through your attorney and see what kind of relief would be appropriate. It may have to be done either through a motion, a family court proceeding with an order of protection, or the police may have to be called. It all depends, unfortunately, on the circumstances at that time which makes it a difficult situation. The children are the ones that are suffering and the protection that they can be afforded through the court sometimes is only a band-aid. The parent who is abusing the substance, whether it be alcohol or drugs, needs to get treatment. A lot of times the court will try to get that person into a treatment program but is sometimes unable to do so. It’s a pretty tricky situation.
Robert Pollack is an experienced divorce and family law attorney in Long Island, New York. Contact The Pollack Law Firm, P.C., to set up a free initial consultation.