Dealing with the other parent’s alcohol abuse in divorce
If a parent in Illinois who is getting a divorce becomes concerned about their child’s safety with the other parent, there may be steps that parent can take to protect the child, but this is not always the case. One man was worried about his wife’s drinking because he thought she might drink and drive with their 7-year-old in the car. He also was the child’s main caregiver, so he was concerned that the child was with his wife and that she had cut off contact.
It is not always easy to prove that a parent’s alcoholism puts the child in danger. This was the case for one woman whose child’s father drank nightly. The court found that this did not prove that the father drank when he had the children with him, so he was still allowed time with them.
Parents should document any instances of conflict as well as any caregiving duties, such as taking the child to the doctor. A police report or similar evidence may be necessary to convince a court that the child is danger with the other parent. In the absence of this, witness testimony from a neighbor or a caregiver might be helpful. A parent may be required to undergo psychiatric testing or blood testing in some cases.
The reason it can be difficult to prove that a parent should not have access to a child is that courts proceed from the presumption that it is in the best interests of the child to be in contact with both parents. While courts prioritize a child’s safety, parents may try to block the other parent’s access to the child because of disagreements over parenting issues or anger over the divorce. It may be best for children if parents can set aside these issues and negotiate a child custody agreement.