Scared little girl holding fatherThis is the next post in my series on how alcohol abuse by a parent can impact child custody cases in Melbourne, Florida. My last article discussed how Florida courts will typically respond to cases involving violence against a child by a drunk parent. It is important to understand that both law enforcement, and courts, will take immediate action in such situations. If you believe your son or daughter is in imminent danger, then it is best to contact law enforcement. If, by contrast, the child is currently in your care then it is likely best to speak with an attorney before taking action. In this article I will discuss the possibility of the Court requiring supervised visitation when the other parent’s alcohol abuse is creating issues for the child. If you or a loved one are in need of assistance then contact my office today to speak with a lawyer.

Melbourne judges will likely require supervised visitation if they believe a parent cannot adequately care for a child

Judges in Melbourne and other Florida cities may require supervised visitation if they believe that a parent cannot adequately supervise their child. For obvious reasons, Courts are unwilling to leave children in care of people who cannot ensure their safety or protect their best interest. This includes cases in which a parent has shown an inability to refrain from excessive alcohol use in the presence of the child. Behavior does not typically have to be extreme for a Court to require that visitation be supervised. For example, the court may require supervised visitation even if the problematic parent has not displayed violence towards the child. If a parent is intoxicated on a regular basis, in the presence of the child, then there are many needs of the child which they are unable to meet. These can include taking the child to the hospital in the event of an emergency. Such situations can also include less dramatic scenarios, such as a parent not being able to assist the child with their homework. Even if a parent is not displaying signs of violence, or driving drunk with the child, a Court may be unlikely to grant that parent unsupervised visitation if it is shown that they are regularly  intoxicated in the presence of the child. It is important to remember that how the court will rule, in any given situation, is always going to depend on the specific facts of the case.

If a parent wishes to request that their counterpart’s visitation with a child be supervised, then the first step is to file a Supplemental Petition with the court. A Supplemental Petition is a legal filing in which the parent will state how circumstances have changed since the last custodial order. In cases involving alcohol, this change will primarily be due to the other parent’s drinking. A hearing will be held and the requesting parent will present evidence of their counterpart’s inability to adequately care for the child, or of any danger being posed to the child. Depending on the nature of the evidence presented, the Court will have several options. First, the Court may reject the motion outright and leave the status quo in place. Second, the Court may require that visitation be supervised and schedule a later hearing for the determination of a more permanent solution. Finally, but rarely, the court may rule that the current status quo will remain in place and that a later hearing will be held to determine if the change should be made. The process of litigating such a matter is complicated. It is strongly suggested that you retain a child custody lawyer to assist you.

Contact a Melbourne child custody lawyer immediately if you believe the other parent is abusing alcohol or other controlled substances

If you believe your child’s other parent is abusing alcohol or other controlled substances then it is important that you contact a Melbourne child custody lawyer immediately. The longer you wait to contact counsel then the less likely the matter appears to be an emergency. Waiting to bring the matter before the Court, in such situations, can leave the judge with the impression that the situation is not as serious as you claim. This is due to the fact that, for obvious reasons, a parent would likely take immediate action if their son or daughter was truly in danger or facing a negative situation. By contacting counsel immediately, you help to prove the gravity of the situation to the Court.

I am a family law attorney who devotes her practice to domestic relations law. I am a former prosecutor, and I am also a parent. I understand the serious nature of such situations and I will give your case the attention it deserves. I pride myself on the level of service which my office provides and we look forward to speaking with you. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation. 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.