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Parents just want what’s best for their children. Unfortunately, when couples get divorced, they typically need to divide custody of their child between them. Through courts prefer for both parents to participate equally in a child’s life, there are certain circumstances that will influence a court’s decision regarding child custody. For example, if one parent has a substance abuse issue, there’s a chance they will give custody of the child to the other parent. However, there may be some exceptions. Please continue reading and speak with a dedicated Bergen County child custody attorney from McNerney & McAuliffe to learn more about how substance abuse can impact child custody and how our legal team can help ensure your child’s best interests are met. Here are some of the questions you may have:

How does having a substance abuse issue influence a court’s decision on child custody terms?

The first thing you should understand is that, in some cases, having a substance abuse issue alone isn’t enough to warrant the other parent getting full custody of your child. However, if the other parent can prove that a parent’s substance abuse issue prevents them from adequately raising their child or from accounting for their child’s best interests, it may warrant a sole custody agreement. For example, if your ex can prove that you drove while intoxicated with your child in the car, it likely will not work in your favor in terms of a custody agreement. The core of any custody agreement is a child’s well-being, and if the court believes a parent cannot serve their child’s best interests, it will greatly influence their agreement.

What can I do if I lost custody but fixed my substance abuse issue?

If you lost custody of your child initially, but you can prove that since then, you’ve put in the work needed to kick the habit and you’re now sober and ready to be a good parent, you can request a modification to your initial child custody agreement. However, you’ll need to show proof of attending rehab, Alcoholics Anonymous, or another form of proof that demonstrates you’re now clean and ready to look out for your child’s best interests. You should never seek a custody modification without a seasoned Bergen County family law attorney in your corner. Fortunately, you’re in the right place, and our legal team is here to help you, every step of the way.


If you require the legal assistance of an attorney to help you through a criminal law matter, personal injury matter, family law matter, or otherwise, contact McNerney & McAuliffe today.

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