Child visitation law often gives a parent the benefit of the doubt when it comes to giving them parent visitation rights. Even if one parent has emotional problems, a history of abuse or a drug problem, it is possible that they will still be able be allowed to take advantage of parent visitation. This child visitation law that has the ability to protect the rights of the non-custodial parent, even a drug or alcohol addicted spouse, which may frustrate and worry the custodial parent. However, parent visitation rights are not guaranteed and there may be ways around letting one's substance abusing spouse have parent visitation rights with the children.
Standard child visitation law allows each parent to spend time with the child unless the behavior of one parent risks the safety of the child. While the parent visitation may not be cut off for a parent's drug or alcohol use, if it endangers the welfare of the child the courts will take it very seriously and possibly deny or limit visitation to supervised visits. If a parent wants to try and terminate the other parent visitation for the non-custodial parent because of their substance abuse problem, there are legal steps they must take.
Child visitation law gives the non-custodial parent the legal right to be notified of the custodial parent's request to end visitation. They also have a right to defend themselves in court to try to maintain parent visitation rights. The custodial parent who is seeking to end the parent visitation rights of the non-custodial parent, must prove that the other parent does have a substance abuse problem and that it is putting the child at risk. The court may decide that the substance abuse problem is not grounds for terminating all parent visitation rights. They may however, determine that restricted visits, supervised visits, or visits in a public place may be safest for the child.
Proving that the ex-spouse's drug use endangers to child may be difficult. According to child visitation law, parent visitation cannot be stopped due to drug use alone, it must be proven that the drug or alcohol abuse affects the child in a negative way. If the spouse's substance abuse problems cause the spouse to treat the children badly or if they use drugs in front of the child, the court is very likely to deny parent visitation. However, if the substance abuse was in the past, the non-custodial parent has the right to argue that past behavior should have no bearing on the future.
Child visitation law does take a parent's substance abuse very seriously. However, one's substance abuse alone is not necessarily enough to stop the parent visitation rights of the non-custodial parent, unless it can be proven that it is affecting the child in a negative way.