If you suspect that your ex-spouse is abusing alcohol or drugs and they
have either full or joint custody of your child, your child’s safety
is your first priority. What are your options? What action can you take
to remove your child from a dangerous situation?
First, before you do anything, you should make sure that your suspicions
have merit. What kind of evidence do you have? Does your spouse exhibit
strange behavior or appear to be using drugs? Have there been accidents
in his or her home? Is your child giving any indication that there may
be something wrong with their father or mother? Gather as much proof as
you can. If you believe your suspicions are warranted, call your family
law attorney immediately. You may be able to file a motion to modify your
child custody order to get primary custody of your child, or modify your
parenting plan to limit your child’s exposure to the other parent.
Your attorney will present evidence on your behalf that drug use is occurring
around your child. Testimony from witnesses with close and personal knowledge
of your ex can be helpful in this regard. If the Court agrees that there
is habitual, frequent, and continuing use of drugs or alcohol abuse by
the accused parent, the Court has the power to order drug and alcohol
testing of that parent. Some judges may require both parents to submit
to testing in some situations. If the test returns a positive result,
the modification will likely be granted.
If you successfully obtain a modification, your spouse may get limited
supervised visits with the child or lose their visitation rights completely
while they seek treatment. This may last until they can show that they
have gotten help and have remained sober for a certain length of time.
If you suspect that your ex-spouse is using drugs around your child,
do not delay in contacting a lawyer. The Portland family law attorneys at McKinley
Irvin encourage you to call (503) 395-0244 to set up a
case evaluation with an attorney with experience in these matters. We accept cases throughout
the state of Oregon.