New Jersey parents who also have substance abuse problems might not be denied access to their children in a divorce due to that issue. Courts will consider several factors and will work from the assumption that most of the time, children are better off having contact with both parents.
For example, in the recently-publicized breakup of Kourtney Kardashian and Scott Disick, the father may choose to fight for custody of the couple’s three children despite his own well-publicized substance abuse problem. However, according to some observers, the fact that Kourtney has been the primary caregiver is likely to carry more weight in denying him that custody than his substance abuse.
Parents are often awarded joint legal custody when their relationship ends. This means that both parents are responsible for making decisions about a child’s health, education and other important issues. Physical custody is decided differently. For a parent who is recently out of drug or alcohol rehab, upervised visits or other limited arrangements may be initially ordered. However, these arrangements can change. Courts are unlikely to deny joint legal custody or refuse any sort of visitation to a parent unless there are extenuating circumstances with that parent such as abuse allegations or incarceration. Failure to pay child support is not considered a reason to deny visitation.
Parents who are facing negotiations over child custody and visitation may wish to work with their respective family law attorneys to draw up a parenting plan. A plan like this that deals with issues around custody and how a child will be raised can help to reduce the conflict between parents and make it easier for the children as well.