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Substance abuse can justify child custody modification

Child custody and visitation agreements are often the most prized and contentious items in family law. Most people love their children and will do anything to protect them. Issues can arise, though, when individuals differ over what they think is best for their child. When those differences can't be resolved through informal discussions, then the matter must be taken to court so that a judge can decide what type of arrangement supports the child's best interests.

Quite often here in Florida, these child custody cases revolve around substance abuse issues. Parental substance abuse can have a profound effect on a child. Children in homes where substance abuse occurs can be at an increased risk of being subjected to abuse or neglect, and these kids may also wind up experiencing housing instability and other familial financial issues like unemployment. These children can also face stunted emotional development, depression and anxiety, and even the onset of their own substance abuse issues.

A parent's ability to appropriately care for a child can be severely diminished by drug or alcohol abuse, too. An intoxicated parent may be less likely to respond to a child's needs and his or her anger and other emotions may be more challenging to manage. This, in turn, can lead to detachment. Substance abuse can also cause a family to sustain social isolation and familial estrangements. Parents can also become incarcerated after committing substance abuse-related offenses.

When drugs and alcohol interfere with the appropriate care of a child, a lot is at stake. Children are fragile and can quickly be damaged, physically and/or emotionally, when parents are under the influence. This is why sober parents may want to take legal action to protect their children from parents who are struggling with addiction. A family law attorney who is competent at handling child custody and visitation legal issues may prove beneficial in seeking modifications of existing arrangements.

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Ian F. Mann, P.A.
1424 Dean Street
Fort Myers, FL 33901

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