Prior to 2016, the excessive use or abuse of alcohol or illegal drugs by one spouse was a valid grounds for divorce in Illinois. When all fault grounds were eliminated in the state in 2016, irreconcilable differences became the only official reason for which a couple could seek a divorce. The reality, however, is that substance abuse is a real problem in many marriages, especially if the couple has children together. In the wake of a divorce, drug abuse can and may continue to affect parental responsibilities and each parent’s right to parenting time.
Dividing Parental Responsibilities
When you, as a parent, get divorced, you and the other parent are expected by law to come up with a reasonable agreement regarding parenting your child. Before your agreement will be approved, the court will read it over and decide whether the terms reflect the child’s best interests. If the court does not approve the proposal, or if you the parents cannot reach an agreement, the court will determine how parental responsibilities will be allocated. In doing so, the court must consider many different factors and create an arrangement to meet the needs of the child.
It is at this point that you should bring up any concerns related to your former partner’s drug or alcohol use. If you can show that the other parent’s drug abuse—including prescription drugs—or excessive alcohol use presents a physical, emotional, or moral danger to the child, the court will take that into consideration. The same is true if alcohol or drugs prevents the other parent from carrying out his or her assigned parental duties. In most cases, this would result in fewer parental responsibilities being given to parent with a substance abuse problem.
Limiting Parenting Time
Parenting time—formerly known as visitation—can be dramatically affected by one parent’s substance abuse problems. When drug abuse is a known concern, the law gives the court the authority to order the offending parent to abstain from drugs and alcohol during and immediately prior to his or her scheduled parenting time. The court also has the discretion to place other limits on the offending parent’s parenting time, including third-party supervision or restrictions on where the child may go with the parent in question. The court could even order the offending parent to participate in drug or alcohol abuse programs as a condition of restoring parenting time or parental responsibilities.
Call a Wheaton Family Lawyer
Sharing parental responsibilities with a former partner can be difficult under any circumstances. Sharing them with a former partner who has problems with drugs or alcohol can be even more challenging. Contact an experienced DuPage County parental responsibilities attorney to get the help you need. Call 630-871-1002 for a free consultation at Andrew Cores Family Law Group today