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Mastanduno Law Group Oct. 14, 2020

Alcoholism and Child Custody Issues

Due to the pandemic, work, school and home life likely looks a bit different. While some families have adjusted to their new normal, divorced parents may find the situation a bit tougher to navigate. For Oregon parents with shared custody, it may be a constant juggle working remotely while meeting the needs of their child at home and when they are with the other parent. This is especially true when the noncustodial may be struggling with drug and alcohol addiction, causing the child to be put in the situation more often in the household.

Alcohol Abuse

Because nearly half of the nation has students in classes K through 12 learning online at home, this means adult supervision is likely needed. While many parents are able to work remotely to accommodate this, others may have to work out a new routine to make this new learning system work. In some cases, this may be increasing the time spent with a non-custodial parent.

The added stress of working from home mixed with becoming a teacher at home can lead parents to explore avenues to deal with this. For some, this means grabbing a cocktail to relax after a long day. While drink alcohol in moderation is likely not an issue, adding more alcohol consumption for someone that already has a drinking problem could create a problematic situation for the children at home.

Impact Alcohol Has on Child Custody

In a two-parent household, parents could essentially tag team if one parent decides to consume more alcohol; however, in a split custody matter, this is not possible. In some cases, a child custody arrangement may be strict, even asserting that no alcohol may be consumed during parenting time. This could present custody issues if it is found out that a parent has consumed alcohol.

According to current data, there was a 35% increase in business for companies that provide remote breath testers with a built in camera since the start of the pandemic. The goal of these devices is to ensure that alcohol continues to not be consumed during placement with the children. When alcohol abuse is a problem in a custody matter, the court often requires these devices. This suggests that the increase in the use of these devices means that this concern has been brought up in current custody matters across the nation.

Child custody matters can be complex, especially when drugs and alcohol are an issue. Thus, it is important that divorced parents understand how best to navigate these matters and how to ensure the best interests of the children are met.


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