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Drug Addiction and Child Custody in New Jersey

There is no question the opioid crisis has had a devastating impact on many families.

In fact, a number of studies report Americans are struggling with addiction at record levels – involving everything from alcohol to medical marijuana to prescription narcotics - and that women may be at particularly high risk. A recent study by the University of Washington found alcohol-related deaths are up 35 percent over the last 10 years – deaths among women rose by 85 percent.

A number of studies also contend that men may be more prone to alcoholism, drunk driving and overtly risky behavior while under the influence, whereas women may be more prone to silent suffering under the influence of prescribed medications, including narcotics, sleeping agents and anti-depressants.

New Jersey family law courts seek to resolve custody matters by making decisions in the best interest of the child. Our child custody lawyers in Middlesex County know the financial, social and emotional problems that come with addiction mean an addicted parent may not be awarded primary custody, and might only receive supervised visitation.

New Jersey Divorce and Addiction

New Jersey is a no-fault state when it comes to divorce. Most New Jersey divorce cases proceed on the grounds of irreconcilable differences. Grounds for fault divorce include abuse, adultery, habitual drunkenness or drug habituation, imprisonment or institutionalization, or deviant sexual behavior.

Our Middlesex County child custody attorneys can best help you determine whether a former spouse’s alcoholism or drug addiction is grounds for divorce or is an issue best raised when it comes to child custody.

However, a parent should not be punished for seeking to confront an addiction problem. Where we see the law unfairly applied is in cases where a parent is attempting to deal proactively with an addiction problem, and faces stigma that a parent who denies an alcohol or drug problem does not have to face.

In many cases, significant parenting rights are only granted if the addicted parent has gone through treatment, has been sober for a specific period, passes regular court-mandated drug tests, and consistently passes other requirements.

The specter of alcoholism or drug addiction can have a significant impact on divorce or child custody cases in New Jersey. Aside from abuse allegations, few issues can swing a divorce or child custody case like allegations of serious addiction issues. Your Middlesex County family law attorney should work to keep such allegations out of court, while formulating a sound defense in cases where such evidence ends up before the judge.

Proven substance abuse allegations may impact every area of a divorce case, including property division, child custody and child support, and even alimony and spousal support obligations. Proven allegations may even impact your ability to negotiate a proper divorce settlement, as a former spouse is often more than happy to use the information in court.

Call Rozin|Golinder Law, LLC today for a free and confidential consultation.

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