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There are usually a myriad of factors that will lead you to separate from your spouse with a view to seeking a divorce. When your spouse is an alcoholic or at least has a highly problematic relationship with alcohol, one of the reasons for the end of the relationship might be apparent. You have probably already tried to address the issue, and yet your efforts might well have been futile, contributing to your ultimate decision. And yet, there are multiple decisions pertaining to a divorce that will have to be made. Perhaps the most pressing decision is what happens to the custody of your children when one of their parents is an alcoholic.
A Meaningful Relationship
Custody and visitation rights are structured with a view as to what's in the best interests of the children while still permitting them to have a meaningful relationship with both parents. The preservation of the relationship between a child and a parent is paramount, even though your spouse's alcoholism can make a meaningful relationship difficult, at the interim stage anyway.
An Interim Parenting Order
It is this interim stage that will become crucial, and you might wish to seek an interim parenting order. A parenting order is generally viewed as a formal (and often permanent) arrangement that dictates matters of custody, visitation, and financial maintenance. When you are concerned that your spouse's alcohol consumption has the potential to place your children at risk, you might wish to apply for an interim parenting order that regulates their access to your children until such time as the circumstances change.
A Change of Circumstances
Ideally, a change of these circumstances will restore your spouse's ability to have a meaningful relationship with their children. This can be achieved by them attaining a level of control over their alcohol consumption, whether it's complete cessation of their drinking or them consistently demonstrating that they're able to moderate the amount of alcohol they consume. They might also be receiving one-on-one therapy for their alcoholism or attending a recognised recovery programme (such as Alcoholics Anonymous).
A number of interim, periodically reassessed parenting orders might be the most appropriate course of action. These orders might sharply restrict the amount of alcohol your spouse can consume during visitation (when your spouse is not planning to cease consumption altogether). Their consumption can be monitored by random, mandatory alcohol testing, if ordered by the Courts. Supervised visitation might also be necessary until such time as it can be clearly demonstrated that your spouse's alcoholism is being managed.
Given the delicacy of such a situation and the fact that a number of interim parenting orders will need to be drafted, you might want to hire a family law specialist to negotiate on your behalf. Hopefully, your spouse will control their drinking and will be able to have a safe, healthy, and meaningful relationship with their children.
Reach out to a firm like Matthews Dooley & Gibson to learn more.Share