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Child Custody & Substance Abuse Issues on Long Island

by | Jun 5, 2018 | child custody and support, divorce lawyer long island ny, Family Law Attorney, Family Law Lawyer, News and Events

When Long Island parents decide to end a relationship, regardless of whether that relationship is a marriage, custody of the child or children often becomes a major, and sometimes heated issue.  Child custody is often an emotional issue in the best of circumstances, but when drug or alcohol abuse by one parent is involved or suspected, it becomes all the more complex.

General Rules of Child Custody on Long Island

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As a preliminary matter, child custody is the parent’s legal right to direct and control their child’s upbringing. Each parent is, at the outset, permitted to request custody and visitation of their child(ren) during divorce proceedings and in Family Court. Typically, although only one parent may be granted custody of their child(ren), the other parent may still be entitled to visitation.

In New York, the court will consider the best interests of the child(ren) when making any decisions regarding custody and visitation. When using this standard, the judge may consider who the primary caretaker has been, the home environment of each parent, the ability of the parent to provide intellectual and emotional support, any patterns of child abuse and/or domestic violence by either parent, and, the “fitness” of each parent to be a stable caregiver.

Current Sobriety & Child Custody

Unfortunately, in many child custody cases, drugs or some other substance, play a role. Whether it’s alcohol, illegal substances, or abuse of prescription pills, abuse of these substances will have an impact on your child custody case. However, past issues with substance abuse do not necessarily prevent a court from awarding visitation. If a parent is on the right track and remains sober, courts will often award unsupervised visitation. Notwithstanding, it’s very important to remember that the best interests of the child will always come first with the court. Although the court may ultimately want the child to have a relationship with both parents, it will weigh the potential benefits and burdens of allowing visitation with a recovering addict parent.

Current Substance Abuse Cases

At the outset, it’s important to note that a parent’s struggle with substance abuse does not automatically mean that a parent will be denied custody or visitation rights. The court must certainly take the totality of the circumstances into account, but it does not outright exclude one parent from enjoying time with the child.

In almost all cases, if substance abuse is alleged, the court will immediately step in and investigate to determine whether the allegations are true. The most common way the allegations are investigated is through a drug test. Generally, both parties will be subjected to the test.

What If I Test Positive?

If the parent tests positive for substance abuse, the court will typically remove the child from that parent’s physical custody. Custody may then be granted to the other parent or to a third-party, such as a grandparent. The parent that tested positive may still be entitled to visitation, although those visits are usually supervised. A family member or friend may supervise, or the Department of Social Services may shoulder that responsibility. Someone must be present at all times in order to ensure the parent is acting as a positive influence on the child. In some cases, drug tests will be required prior to visits, and if the parent fails the drug test the visit may be cancelled. If a number of visits are cancelled for this reason, the court may withdraw supervised visitations altogether.

If you are in the process of a child custody or matrimonial case, especially if substance abuse is involved, please call our Office at 631-923-1910 and set up your complimentary consultation with one of our experienced Long Island Divorce and Family Law Attorneys.

Have More Questions About Child Custody? Contact Us

See this page to learn everything you need to know about Child Custody and Visitation on Long Island.

If you are in the process of a child custody or matrimonial case, especially if substance abuse is involved, we can help. Contact our Long Island Divorce & Family Law firm at 631-629-2545 to set up your free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys.

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Schedule your complimentary consultation and case evaluation with our experienced attorneys today. When you call, you’ll speak to our friendly Client Services Director, who will be able to answer your general questions and set up your appointment with an attorney who specializes in your unique case.

At your meeting, your attorney will describe the many options available and determine together which is the right solution for you. By the end of this meeting we’ll all understand how we can best help you to move forward.

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Anastasia R
Anastasia R
22:45 17 Dec 20
I went to see Rob for a modification for my child custody agreement to relocate, I can honestly say that working with Rob and Christine has been the best experience. I cannot recommend them enough I only wish I had seen them sooner. They are prompt with communication, and they are honest which I appreciate so much. They do not give you fake promises and they do their best to fight for what you want which they do amazingly well! You can tell they are passionate about what they do and care about their clients. A very important aspect of lawyer client relationship for me is an open line of communication, the anxiety of the unknown always gets the best of us. The fact they were always available whether it be phone call or email to answer any question was extremely comforting and exactly what I needed. I am not well versed with laws and regulation so knowing I had Rob and his partners there when I was unsure or conflicted was extremely needed and greatly appreciated.When it comes to family court it's never easy but having Rob and his partner by my side I felt extremely comfortable and he helped me have realistic expectations. Please TRUST HIM!! If you're looking for a lawyer (at least for my end from child custody/Family Court) don't look any further you will not be disappointed. I hope to never have to use them again but in the event I have to, they are going to be my forever first call.
Sam Berg
Sam Berg
15:42 16 Sep 20
I hired Robert to handle a child custody and child support matter. He was prompt and professional and was able to achieve a result that 3 prior attorneys could not. He and his staff made a stressful situation easy. I highly recommend his office.


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