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August 24, 2020 Custody

The Prevalence of Alcohol in Custody Cases: How Family Law Professionals Can Benefit from Implementing a Remote Monitoring System

From Family Law Section Corporate Sponsor Soberlink

This article is published in connection with the sponsorship agreement between Soberlink and the ABA.

Alcohol abuse can impact your client’s chances of custody in a divorce. Learn more about alcohol abuse’s role in child custody litigation, and how you can ensure your legal rights remain protected. 

Table of Contents

  • Alcohol Use Disorder
    • Alcohol Use Disorder in Family Law cases
    • Effects of Alcohol Use Disorder on families with children
  • Child Custody in Cases with AUD
    • Which factors determine child custody?
    • Upholding the Best Interests of the Child Standard
  • Soberlink Alcohol Monitoring
    • Soberlink Alcohol Monitoring in Family Law
      • Level 1 Parenting Time Only
      • Level 2 Scheduled Daily Testing 
Studies show that approximately 55 thousand divorce cases involve a parent who abuses alcohol.

Studies show that approximately 55 thousand divorce cases involve a parent who abuses alcohol.

Credit: Breakingpic via Pexels

Alcohol Addiction

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, an estimated 15 million people in the United States abuse alcohol. While drinking alcohol is socially acceptable behavior, there can be severe challenges in the child custody context.

Alcohol Abuse in Family Law Cases

Studies show that approximately 55 thousand divorce cases involve a parent who abuses alcohol. As expected, the impact on minor children can result in unmet developmental needs, impaired and damaged attachments to a parent, economic hardships in the family, legal problems, emotional and psychological distress, and even violence. 

Effects of Alcohol Abuse on Families with Children

According to additional research from the National Institutes for Health, a child who consistently experiences an environment in which a primary caretaker is unresponsive to their basic needs has a higher risk of developing an insecure attachment that may lead to depression, anxiety, and an overall failure to thrive. As a result, “attachment disorders” are common among children that share households with those struggling with alcohol abuse. 

Child Custody in Cases with Alcohol Abuse

In cases involving alcohol addiction, a parenting plan should articulate that a parent should refrain from consuming any alcohol at any time, or for a specific number of hours before and during parenting time. These details ensure that a meaningful relationship can continue between a parent and child, without risking the child’s safety. 

Remote alcohol monitoring devices are an easily accessible option to help streamline litigation and aid the parent who abuses alcohol to prove their sobriety in real-time. 

Which Factors Determine Child Custody?

Judges have a legal responsibility to ensure that a child remains as safe and healthy as possible. Courts will look at several factors to determine child custody schedules, and one of the elements will include looking at both parents’ history of substance abuse. The court has a legal right and obligation to make decisions in the best interests of the child. Obtaining court-admissible documents detailing a client’s sobriety could result in awarded parenting time and streamlined litigation. 

Upholding the Best Interests of the Child Standard

Practitioners understand that courts throughout the United States use the ‘Best Interests of the Child Standard’ as a guiding force when making child custody determinations. While it may seem that this standard is arbitrary, it considers several factors that would impact the emotional, psychological, and physical well-being of a child. Courts want to ensure that children have as much opportunity as possible to maintain a relationship with both parents. 

Soberlink Alcohol Monitoring

Soberlink alcohol monitoring is a solution for parents that struggle with alcohol abuse and their legal representation. Soberlink includes real-time results, facial recognition, and Advanced Reporting™, which provides court-admissible proof of sobriety. Soberlink promotes accountability, which can create a foundation upon which parents can prove to a court that they are taking their alcohol addiction seriously. 

Soberlink Alcohol Monitoring in Family Law

Due to advancements in technology, parents struggling with alcohol addiction can now implement remote tools to support their recovery journey. Soberlink offers a unique and concrete way for parents to demonstrate a severe level of commitment to their sobriety and their children. Having an alcohol monitoring system increases the chances of a parent maintaining close ties and a strong emotional bond with their child, something courts always deem in the child’s best interests. Law professionals who have yet to incorporate alcohol monitoring into their practice risk creating an atmosphere of endless litigation and consistent disruption to the bond between parent and child. 

Level 1 Parenting Time Only

There are different levels in which alcohol monitoring can occur concerning a child custody determination. In some cases, a parent will only need to submit tests during parenting time. This option allows a parent to conclusively document their sobriety and notify concerned parties in real-time while they have their children in their care. Level 1 is often used in situations where co-parents require a more flexible schedule. Along with their attorney, co-parents can determine testing times based on parenting time schedules. 

Level 2 Scheduled Daily Testing

This level requires daily testing and can include 2 to 4 scheduled tests per day. This option for alcohol monitoring is available for those looking to sustain recovery and prove their sobriety consistently. Scheduled daily testing is a zero-tolerance policy, meaning no alcohol, regardless of whether a parent has their children or not. Tests are managed by Soberlink and adhere to a rigid testing window. 

Soberlink remote alcohol monitoring assists those involved in Family Law litigation to ensure a child’s safety. In many cases, one parent that abuses alcohol may not receive as much child custody time as a result of their consistent alcohol abuse. However, Soberlink’s technology not only provides real-time results and reliability regarding evidence of sobriety, but it also helps develop healthy habits for a parent to increase the chances of achieving long-term sobriety. 

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Huntington Beach, CA

Founded in 2010, Soberlink supports accountability for sobriety through a comprehensive alcohol monitoring system. Combining a professional-grade breathalyzer with wireless connectivity, the portable design and state-of-the-art technology includes facial recognition, tamper detection, real-time results, and detailed reports. Soberlink documents sobriety with the highest level of reliability and accuracy to foster trust and peace of mind.