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Substance abuse can affect child custody and visitation

Child custody and visitation issues are sometimes amongst the most highly contested family law matters. Splitting couples may feud over these arrangements, with each believing it knows what is best for the child in question. When these matters cannot be settled outside of court, they must be determined by a judge after the presentation of evidence. This decision will be based on the best interests of the child, which takes several factors into consideration.

One factor that can have a major impact on the outcome of a child custody or visitation issue is the presence of parental substance abuse. This is because substance abuse on a parent's part can have a tremendous impact on a child. It can lead to a child's decreased performance in school, low self-esteem, behavioral issues, emotional problems and an increased risk of developing depression and/or anxiety.

This is nothing short of tragic, especially considering that about one-fourth of all children grow up in a household with an addicted parent. In these households, parental responsibilities sometimes shift, where a child suddenly takes on much more responsibility than he or she should. They may help raise siblings and become ashamed of their home life. This can lead to social isolation. In some instances, children even partake in drug and alcohol use with a parent in an attempt to develop a bond with that parent. Needless to say, this is highly inappropriate and dangerous.

So, as one can see, substance abuse can have a profound impact on a child, which is why these issues need to be addressed when child custody and visitation issues arise. Failing to do so could put a child at risk. On the other hand, those accused of substance abuse need to be prepared to protect themselves as fully as possible so that they can protect their relationship with their child as fully as possible. Therefore, those coming face-to-face with these matters may want to think about acquiring legal assistance.

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