Custody cases are delicate and complex, and they can become even more so when there is an issue of substance abuse by one of the parents. Florida residents who are in this situation might wonder if and when the court needs to get involved if they want to protect their child from an ex-spouse’s substance abuse struggles.

Courts will always have the best interests of the child in mind when deciding custody issues. Even after a custody order is in place, granting visitation rights to the non-custodial parent, the issue of substance abuse might be a factor in modifying that order. A parent can bring up the issue of substance abuse directly with the court, or they can do it through a report to the state’s Department of Child Protective Services.

Once a court is aware of the problem, they might consider the current situation as well as any past events related to substance abuse, if there is a history of it, and how it can put the welfare of the child at risk. The concerned parent should also keep records and evidence of the behavior and problems related to the substance abuse, which show the other parent to be unsuitable. The court might then modify the visitation order by either halting visitation until the situation changes or by ordering supervised visitation to ensure the child’s welfare. The custodial parent might also file for a restraining order or refuse visitation from the other parent.

A parent who finds themselves in this type of situation might seek the services of a child custody law firm, which can help the parent file the necessary paperwork to legally protect their child. The law firm might also assist with gathering evidence, such as arrest records and police reports, that show the child’s welfare might be in danger with the other parent.