In Texas courts, the child’s best interest is the main factor that judges consider when determining child custody. Therefore, a history of substance abuse will definitely have an impact on the judges’ decision. Here’s a look at how alcohol or other substance abuse could affect your case.
Custody in Texas
In your child custody case, you will come across terms like legal custody, physical custody, sole custody and joint custody. Legal custody is when the parent has the right to make decisions regarding their child’s upbringing, like medical issues, religion, education, etc. Physical custody entails the home of the child.
Legal and physical custody is further divided into sole and joint custody. Sole legal custody is when one parent makes all the important decisions for the child whereas joint legal custody means both parents can make decisions regarding significant aspects of their child’s life.
Sole physical custody means that the child only stays at the home of the parent awarded physical custody. On the other hand, both parents share an equal amount of time with the child if they have joint physical custody.
How substance abuse affects custody
If you have ever been addicted to drugs or alcohol before, it will definitely play a part in custody determination. Remember, the judges put the best interest of the child above all else. If you have a history of substance use or are currently using a drug, the court may believe that you can’t make rational decisions concerning the child’s life or offer a healthy home to live in.
Recovering drug abusers will have to convince the court that they are in a better place to take care of the child. The judge will look at the period of time you last used and the number of times you have relapsed from recovery. If you have a history of relapsing or have been sober for only a short time, then your chances of getting custody are lower.
Remember that the court can also modify custody arrangements. If you abuse drugs after the judge awards you custody, the other parent can file to have your rights stripped. By the same token, if you make significant improvements during recovery, you may be able to petition for joint custody.