Making The Complex

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Can addiction cause a parent to lose child custody rights? Maybe

For many Louisiana families, addiction is a topic that hits far too close to home. Drug and alcohol dependency creates a wide range of problems, especially when there are children involved. For parents who face a child custody battle with a former partner who has addiction issues, it’s important to understand how the courts address such matters.

Many parents are surprised to learn that an individual with a history of drug or alcohol addiction will not necessarily lose rights to his or her child. The courts place the best interests of the child above all else, and strive to maintain and support a strong parent-child bond. Unless one parent places a child in harm’s way, he or she will often retain parental rights.

That is especially true in cases where the parent with addiction is actively seeking treatment. Even if the other parent is fully aware that such efforts are likely to fail, the courts will look favorably upon the efforts made by the party with the addiction. That can be a source of incredible stress to the other parent, who may fear for the safety of the children.

For those in Louisiana who are concerned that their former partner may be placing their children in harm’s way, it’s important to take an aggressive legal stance in the matter. One should gather documentation that backs up those concerns, and be prepared to present a clear and compelling legal argument in court. At the end of the day, ensuring that one’s children are safe and secure is the most important thing, even if that requires a return to court and a child custody hearing.

Source:, “Mental Illness, Addiction, and Divorce: Know Your Rights“, Stephen Bitsoli, Nov. 8, 2017


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