A lot of people who go through divorce worry about what time with their kids will look like. After all, child custody is often one of the most contested issues in the marriage dissolution process, and the outcome can have a tremendous effect on your relationship with your children. But even after the dust settles on your divorce you could end up facing parenting time issue for some time to come. That’s why it’s important that you recognize issues that speak to your child’s best interests and act on them accordingly. Two issues that are commonly seen are parental substance abuse and domestic violence.
The effects of parental substance abuse
Drug use remains a common problem in Arizona, and far too often children are exposed to it. This can cause significant harm to a child. Here are just some of ways that exposure to parental substance may damage your child:
- Increased risk of abuse and neglect
- Development of behavioral issues,
- Onset of anxiety and depression
- Increased responsibilities that extend beyond the child’s capabilities because the parent is incapacitated
- Significant and ongoing fear
- Emotional and social detachment
These are just a few of the effects of exposure to parental substance abuse, and its reach can be more wide reaching than we think. Children who are exposed to substance abuse can develop long-term psychological and emotional issues that can impact them well into adulthood. In other words, this matter shouldn’t be taken lightly.
The effects of domestic violence
Like exposure to parental substance abuse, exposure to domestic violence can cause significant harm to a child. Children who experience domestic violence might suffer from any of the following:
- A sense of abandonment
- Excessive sadness
- Overwhelming worry
- Lack of empathy
- Trouble feeling guilty
- Habitual lying
- Anger management problems
Again, these effects can be devastating to a child in both the short- and long-term. Children who have been exposed to domestic violence may develop behavioral issues, including acting aggressively toward others, which can linger into adulthood can cause a whole host of problems. These children may also see their school performance plunge
What you can do about it
If you think that your child is being exposed to substance abuse, domestic violence, or both, then you need to take action to protect him or her. This might become an issue during your divorce proceedings when a court enters its initial custody order, or it could rear its ugly head further down the road. Regardless of timing, you need to know how to build up your position so that you can convince a judge that your idea for how custody and visitation should play out are in your child’s best interests.
There are several ways that you can go about doing that. Gathering witness accounts is certainly helpful, but so, too, can gathering criminal records and police reports. You might even be able to have mental health professionals talk to your child so that they can come to a conclusion as to how your child’s psychological and emotional wellbeing has been impacted. Once you feel like you have the evidence that you need, then you can take your arguments to court.
The benefits of a legal ally
Sure, you can try to address custody matters on your own, but it’s oftentimes much easier to do so with the help of a skilled legal advocate. These family law professionals know how to build compelling arguments and anticipate the other side’s positions, countering accordingly. At our firm, we’ve consistently helped individuals successfully fight for a child custody arrangement that works for them, but more importantly for their children. So, if you’re looking for assistance addressing your child custody matters, please continue to browse our website to see what we have to offer.