Substance abuse is a growing societal problem that affects individuals and families. When substance abuse enters a family law case, it can complicate legal proceedings and lead to personal consequences. Substance abuse can affect many aspects of family law, ranging from child custody and visitation to spousal support and property division. Furthermore, individuals who struggle with substance abuse face many legal and personal consequences that can significantly impact their lives.
1. Child Custody and Visitation
One of the most significant ways substance abuse can affect a family law case is through child custody and visitation. Courts in all states prioritize the child's best interests when making custody decisions. Substance abuse can lead to a parent losing custody or being ordered to have supervised visitation. In some cases, the court may require the parent to complete a drug or alcohol treatment program before they can be granted custody or unsupervised visitation. It is important to note that substance abuse alone does not automatically result in losing custody or visitation but can undoubtedly influence the court's decision.
2. Spousal Support
Another area where substance abuse can impact family law cases is spousal support, also known as alimony. Courts consider many factors when determining spousal support, but substance abuse can be a factor. For instance, if the spouse receiving support is struggling with substance abuse, the court may order that support be paid directly to treatment providers or require the spouse to attend a treatment program. On the other hand, if the spouse who is paying support is struggling with substance abuse, the court may reduce or modify the amount of support.
3. Division of Property
Substance abuse can also affect property division in a family law case. In some cases, the court may order that the spouse who has engaged in substance abuse forfeit certain assets or property. Additionally, the court may consider the financial impact of substance abuse on the family when dividing property. For example, if one spouse has spent large amounts of money on drugs or alcohol, the court may consider this when making property division decisions.
4. Legal and Personal Consequences
Substance abuse in a family law case can also lead to several legal and personal consequences for the individual struggling with addiction. Legal consequences can include criminal charges, fines, and the loss of driving privileges. Personal consequences can include the loss of employment and strained relationships with family and friends. It is important to remember that help and support are available to individuals struggling with substance abuse. Treatment programs, counseling, and support groups can all make a difference in a person's life and help them overcome addiction.
Salt Lake City Family Lawyers
In conclusion, substance abuse in a family law case can have various legal and personal consequences. Understanding how substance abuse can affect different aspects of family law, from child custody to property division, is crucial for those facing these issues. If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction and meeting a family law case, contact Lokken & Putnam, P.C. to discuss your family matter during a consultation. Call us at (801) 829-9783 to get started.