How Substance Abuse Impacts Custody Cases

Sole physical custody and sole legal custody are rarely granted in California. The California family courts adhere to the philosophy that children are best served when both parents are actively involved in their children's lives. The exception is when a parent or the home environment is detrimental or imminently dangerous to the child's well-being as a result of:

  • Alcohol abuse or drug addiction
  • Physical or psychological abuse of a child
  • Sexual molestation by the father, mother, stepparent or parent's boyfriend/girlfriend
  • Domestic violence in the home
  • Mental health issues
  • Child neglect

These allegations are usually accompanied by a petition for sole custody or a reversal of primary custody from an experienced custody lawyer. The accused parent may be subjected to restraining orders and allowed only supervised visitation, if any contact. Children are pulled into the middle, subjected to psychological evaluations and perhaps compelled to testify about a parent's drinking, drug use, psychotic episodes or abusive conduct.

Issues of abuse, addiction and mental health can have serious implications on child custody and parenting time. Sometimes parents have legitimate concerns about the welfare of a child. Sometimes one parent will shamelessly paint the other as unfit to gain an advantage in divorce and custody proceedings. At TRABOLSI | LEVY | GABBARD LLP, our attorneys aim to de-escalate these tense situations and focus on realistic solutions rather than drastic actions and bitter custody battles.

If settlement is not possible, you will need skilled and aggressive advocacy in court from an attorney, whether the safety of your child is at risk or joint custody of your child is at stake. If a child's welfare is truly at risk, we will take action to shield him or her from further abuse or trauma, and help our client document the adverse behavior. If the allegations are trumped up in a clear ploy for custody, we will work to show that there is no history of abuse or credible evidence that the child is in harm's way.

We have represented mothers and fathers on both sides of contested custody proceedings involving allegations of abuse, addiction, mental illness or violence. Our lawyers are committed first and foremost to protecting children, but we will not let a client be unfairly deprived of custody rights. We make sure the court hears both sides of the story and not merely one parent's self-serving version of the truth.

To schedule your consultation, please call our office at 310-453-6226 or send us an email by filling out our contact form.