Local news for Alabama published an advice column where a reader asked questions about child custody and divorce.
Parents and children have issues due to father’s substance abuse
The reader asked about the biological father of his two step children, who has had four DUI arrests and two convictions within the previous year due to his addictions to drugs and alcohol. The man in question does have some time each month where he is entitled to custody of the two girls, despite these issues. However, the reader claims that the girls do not trust this man anymore, and they no longer desire his company.
The family has encouraged the girls to spend time with their biological father when required for the last few years, but the girls have lost interest due to his recent behavior and the fact that he can be verbally abusive. The man has also lost three jobs within the span of a year, which does not make him a good role model. The reader concluded by asking for advice regarding whether he should tell his step children to avoid their biological father, or to let them make their own decisions.
The author of the advice column’s response was to say that custody issues are essentially decided by a judge after a divorce. These can be modified, but this requires more time and money spent in court and a new hearing. Therefore, the current arrangements will remain unless something is changed. If the situation warrants petitioning the court to terminate their father’s custody rights, the girls should discuss the situation with their mother. The author said that based on the information that has been given, it may be best to move on and avoid a father who has been abusive and has issues with drugs and alcohol.
Reasons for divorce
Divorces happen for a number of reasons, but when someone has a history of substance abuse, a lengthy criminal record, and anger issues, it is more likely that their marriage will not last. Other couples may seek a divorce for reasons such as constant arguing, financial problems, and simply not desiring each other’s company anymore. These are all equally valid reasons, and if it becomes obvious that a couple has become more distant and feels like they are constantly dealing with problems rather than enjoying life, it may be time to speak to a divorce lawyer and get professional advice.
If there are children involved as in the news story above, there will need to be a separate hearing to determine which parent will be awarded primary custody, and the visitation rights of the non-custodial parent.
Speak with a local family law professional