This is the next post in my series on the handling of Melbourne, Florida child custody cases involving parental alcoholism. My last article discussed why Courts may require supervised visitation due to a parent drinking excessively. It is important to understand that the Court’s sole concern will always be for the best interest of the child. If a parent has demonstrated an inability to control themselves, then the Court may require supervision until it is demonstrated that the situation has stabilized. In this article I will discuss another important topic – defending against claims of alcoholism. If you or a family member are in need of assistance then contact us today to speak with a child custody lawyer.
Florida parents sometimes make false claims of alcoholism in child custody proceedings
It is, unfortunately, not uncommon for Florida parents to make false claims of alcoholism during a child custody dispute. The reason for doing so is obvious. It is understandable that a parent will become quite upset when false claims are made against them. It is important to understand, however, that the Court is aware that people sometimes make false accusations. This is one of the reasons why Courts will look to objective evidence when deciding whether a problem actually exists. In other words, the Courts will look at verifiable facts and will not typically take at face value claims that the other parent is “bad.” If the objective facts of a situation indicate that a parent, in fact, does not have a drinking problem then the Court will typically not see the matter as an area of concern.
The foregoing concepts are best explained by way of example. Suppose a mother files a Petition to modify child custody and is claiming that the father drinks excessively. She also claims he is regularly drunk around the child. The father, however, has never been arrested for DUI and has no citations related to being intoxicated. Moreover, the dad’s bank records do not show excessive spending at bars or liquor stores. Finally, the dad has held a steady job for a long-period of time (something not typically associated with alcoholics). Taking these facts as a whole, the Court would likely doubt Mom’s claim of excessive drinking. While how the Court will rule in any given case is always going to depend on the facts of the matter, this example is demonstrative of how the Florida Courts approach such issues during child custody proceedings.
If a Florida parent is shown to be an alcoholic, they can go back to Court after the situation improves
There are instances where a parent is legitimately drinking too much and it is not in the best interest of the child. In such a situation, the Court is likely to reduce that parent’s time and may require supervised visitation. It is important to remember, however, that once one can demonstrate that they have reduced their drinking for a long period of time, then the Court may be willing to increase their visitation. The Court will modify child custody if changed circumstances show that a modification is in the best interest of the child. A parent becoming sober will typically be seen as a “changed circumstance” and Florida Courts prefer for a child to be influenced by both of their parents.
If you are a parent and have been accused of being an alcoholic then contact our office today to speak with a Melbourne child custody lawyer. My firm devotes itself to the handling of domestic relations law and we understand that this is a serious time in your life. We pride ourselves on providing the highest level of service and we look forward to speaking with you. Call today to speak with an attorney. We also serve the cities of Titusville, Cocoa, Palm Bay, Grant, Valkaria, and Rockledge, as well as in the Indian River County areas of Fellsmere, Sebastian, Vero Beach, Indian River Shores, and Orchid.