When you go through a divorce and you have children, getting custody of them might be one of your top priorities. However, if you struggle with substance abuse, you have to accept that getting custody right away may be difficult. This doesn't mean that you can't eventually have your family attorney petition the court to re-evaluate the custody arrangement, perhaps with the goal of getting joint custody of your children. In order to do so, here are some things that you'll want to do.
The most important thing that you'll need to accomplish before any judge will seriously evaluate your ability to care for your children in a joint custody scenario is to get sober. Try to get off drugs however you can, whether it's going through the challenges of stopping cold turkey or taking medication that can help you to manage the withdrawal symptoms. Keep track of the date of your sobriety, too, because this will be important when you're trying to get custody. For example, someone with eight months of dedicated sobriety appears more committed to this healthy lifestyle than someone with three weeks' worth.
Work A Program
Any sober person knows that a relapse can occur easily, so it's important to have some sort of structure that can help you to maintain your sobriety. This is especially true if you're determined to get joint custody of your children. There are many different types of sober-focused programs to consider; your family attorney can likely even recommend some of them. You may also wish to get a sponsor, as this sober individual can be a source of strength when you're struggling. The more you can do in this regard, the more impressive you'll sound when you stand in front of a family court judge again.
Agree To Testing
As a sign that you're serious about your sobriety, get your family attorney to volunteer you to undergo scheduled or random drug testing. The understanding here is that if you fail a test, you'll lose joint custody of your children. Volunteering for testing, rather than simply agreeing to it when the judge suggests it, is further proof of how seriously you're taking your sobriety. You should also agree that missing a test without a good reason could result in an immediate change in your custody arrangement. Together, each of these steps can improve your likelihood of getting joint custody of your children.
For more information, work with an attorney from a local firm like Cragun Law Firm.