One of the common causes of divorce is substance abuse whether it be alcohol or drugs.  When substance abuse by a parent threatens the well-being of a child, it can have an impact on parental rights. In California, a parent can be deemed unfit if their substance abuse compromises their ability to care for their children and consequently making it harder to provide a safe and stable environment for their children. The state might even intervene in severe cases, taking custody of the children until the parent or parents address and resolve the issues at hand.

While the legal system might intervene to protect the comfort and security of the children, there are options for alternative routes for resolving such matters. In a Collaborative Divorce, professionals like parenting specialists can be engaged to address issues related to substance abuse. This environment fosters open discussions in private, away from the formal courtroom settings, allowing parents to delve into deep-seated problems without the fear of judgment or public record.

Substance abuse can have profound consequences on parental rights during divorce proceedings. The impact can range from monitored visitations to temporary custody by the state. Nevertheless, Mediation and Collaborative Divorce offer potential avenues for parents to address these issues collectively, ensuring the best possible outcome for their children.

Mediation in a case where these issues are present makes it more challenging, but it is possible to work through these issues. The success of mediation largely depends on the commitment of both parents to engage in open dialogue and find mutually agreeable solutions. It is important to know that both parties must be invested in the process. The parent struggling with substance abuse should exhibit a sincere commitment to change, while the other parent should strive for compassion and support rather than seeking to punish.

The well-being of the children is of paramount importance. Courts are ultimately concerned with the children’s safety and stability, and substance abuse can be a significant red flag in this regard. However, the collaborative approach presents a more constructive way forward, where parents can work together, with the help of professionals, to create a healthy environment for their children.

Lynette Kim has over 25 years of experience as a family law attorney in California and focuses on peacefully resolving disputed divorce issues. The Kim Mediation and Law Center is located at 3701 Wilshire Blvd. Suite 508 in Los Angeles, CA. To schedule an appointment, call 213-351-1000 or you can also click here to contact us