Managing Custody Cases Involving Parental Addiction

British Columbia's Family Law Act is fairly straightforward when it comes to determining whether parents should share custody. Under this law, "parents are generally guardians" and thus entitled to parenting time and a share of parenting responsibility, even after separation or divorce.

But what if one parent has addiction problems?

If addiction figures into your child custody case, you want experienced representation on your side. At Westside Family Law, our lawyers have decades of practical experience helping families throughout Vancouver and the Lower Mainland overcome tough legal issues. We take care to examine every detail when managing custody cases involving allegations of drug or alcohol addiction. We know the impact such allegations can have on your parenting agreement or order and will strive for resolutions that protect your children's best interests.

How Addiction Affects Your Parenting Claim Or Custody Case

Generally speaking, determining parenting time or responsibility is a "no fault" regime, meaning that both parents should have full access to their children and the ability to share decisions about their upbringing. However, if the Court suspects or knows that one parent struggles with addiction, it can create barriers to establishing joint or shared guardianship and custody between the sober parent and the addicted parent.

Even if the addicted parent seeks treatment, it may still take time to vary an existing agreement or obtain joint guardianship. Getting clean or sober is only part of the long process of rehabilitation before a parent can be considered sufficiently capable of taking on joint parenting responsibilities.

That being said, in the absence of significant risk or harm to the children — including emotional or psychological harm — it may be possible to set up an interim agreement whereby children can maintain a relationship with an addicted parent while he or she goes through treatment.

Westside's lawyers have extensive experience handling such situations, whether parents are in the process of separating or are already separated and seeking to change an existing agreement. We will examine the facts, enlist the support of qualified experts, if necessary, and seek resolutions that work towards your goals.

We offer an office free of judgment or guilt. Instead, we focus on finding the right solutions given your family's unique dynamics and challenges.

Like The Law, Our Firm Wants What Is Best For The Children You Care About

While it is a nice idea to have both parents involved in a child's life, we know that sometimes, this ideal cannot be achieved. If you fear for the safety of your child or grandchild because of parental addiction or abuse, call us to discuss your options. Removing guardianship is very difficult to do, but not impossible.

We want what's best for the children you love, as does the law. To discuss your concerns in a confidential consultation, call our office in Vancouver at 604-800-8853. You may also fill out our online contact form to get in touch.