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The impact of substance abuse on child custody

When Texas parents have substance abuse issues, it could impact their ability to have possession or access to a child. Substance abuse could refer either to an alcohol problem or an addition to any illegal substance. Authorities may get involved in the matter if a complaint is filed with either the court that issued the custody order or to the Department of Family and Protective Services.

First, the court will investigate the allegation to make sure that it is true. It will also look to see how a substance abuse problem could interfere with the parent's ability to care for the child. In any child custody matter, the top priority is protecting the best interest of the child. In addition to considering current issues with substance abuse, a court may look at prior periods of substance abuse if applicable.

If a child custody order has already been granted, it may be modified to reflect new facts in the case. For instance, a parent may be limited in how he or she may contact or interact with the child. Access to a child may occur only during supervised periods to ensure the safety of a minor. Social workers or other family members may provide the supervision during such visits.

As a general rule, a court is tasked with protecting the best interests of the child above the wishes of the parents. Custodial parents who believe that noncustodial parents pose a danger to their children may wish to talk with an attorney. Doing so may it possible to develop a case that shows that current or past substance abuse may warrant revoking or modifying possession or access to a child. This may be true even if a custody order has already been issued.

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