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Parenting Proceedings with Substance Abuse

Are you concerned for the welfare of your children when they are with the other parent who you believe has substance abuse problems? This is an issue facing many families and we are here to help you through these difficult moments. The Family Law Court’s primary focus is to ensure Orders are made that are in the children’s best interests and that they spend time with both parents, provided the children are protected from physical or psychological harm.  If there are allegations that a child is being exposed to a parent’s substance abuse or is being neglected as a result, the Court will act cautiously in allowing time between the children and that parent.

Do children still spend time with parents with substance abuse issues?  The answer is yes.  There are safeguards that can be put in place to protect children in these situations.  Some examples can include:

  1. A testing regime to ensure the parent is sober before their time with the children. Different types of testing are discussed further below.
  2. Supervised time, where the parent’s time with the children is supervised either by a family member or friend or a professional supervision service.

Substance Abuse Testing can include the following:

  1. Urinalysis testing under chain of custody. This requires a person to be supervised whilst providing a urine sample that is tested for the specific substance that is alleged to be being abused by the parent. The test occurs at a local pathology.
  2. Carbohydrate Deficient Transferrin (CDT) testing. This requires a blood test to determine whether a person has been consuming alcohol to excess.  The test occurs with a GP or at a local pathology.
  3. Hair follicle testing. This requires a hair sample which can indicate the recent use of illicit substances, alcohol or prescription medication and can indicate use over the past 12 months. It is a more expensive option but has a longer time period that substance abuse can be checked.  There are specific organisations who undertake this type of testing.

In addition to subjecting to a testing regime, the Court will usually require the parent with a substance abuse problem to demonstrate to the Court their attendance at rehabilitation clinics and with drug and alcohol counsellors.

By showing a consistent regime of test results and attendances with trained professionals to assist the parent in dealing with substance abuse problems, along with a period of time where visits with the children have been supervised without issue, the Court may remove the requirement for supervision, depending on the circumstances of the case.

If you are concerned about allowing your children to spend time with the other parent due to substance abuse, or if you have an issue with substance abuse and are unsure how to persuade a Court to allow you time with your children, call Lewis Family Lawyers today to arrange a consultation.

Memberships and Associations

Lewis Family Lawyers

Sydney Office

Level 30, 133 Castlereagh Street
Sydney NSW 2000
Phone: (02) 9159 9049
Mobile: 0438 800 996

Bowral Office

Suite 2B, 11-13 Bundaroo Street
Bowral NSW 2576
Phone: 02 4263 9011

Email: info@lewisfamilylawyers.com.au

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Sydney Office

Level 30, 133 Castlereagh Street
Sydney NSW 2000
Phone: (02) 9159 9049
Mobile: 0438 800 996

Bowral Office

Suite 2B, 11-13 Bundaroo Street
Bowral NSW 2576
Phone: 02 4263 9011

Email: info@lewisfamilylawyers.com.au