How Can Substance Abuse Affect Child Custody in New Jersey?

When a parent has a substance abuse issue it can have a negative impact on everyone’s lives, particularly their children. This is why substance abuse issues are taken very seriously by New Jersey courts, and it is a significant consideration in matters involving child custody. Please continue reading and reach out to our New Jersey family law attorneys to learn more about how substance abuse can affect child custody.

How Can Substance Abuse Affect Child Custody in New Jersey?

What are the different types of child custody in New Jersey?

In the state of New Jersey, courts recognize two types of child custody: physical/residential custody and legal custody. Physical custody refers to where a child will spend most of his or her time. If one parent has physical custody of a child for the majority of the time, he or she will be considered the custodial parent.

Though every parent wants physical custody of their child, legal custody is just as important as physical custody. This is because a parent having legal custody of a child gives a parent the authority to make critical life decisions on behalf of the child, including their education, religion, and the types of medical treatment they can receive.

How can a substance abuse issue affect child custody?

Typically, New Jersey courts would prefer to give a child the most well-rounded custody schedule so that both parents can remain active parts of their child’s life. However, this is not always possible, for example, when it is revealed to the courts that one parent has a substance abuse issue. Oftentimes, a substance abuse issue may lead the court to believe that the individual is parentally unfit, and that he or she would not be able to look out for the child’s best interests. For this reason, if the court believes one parent has a substance abuse issue, they may award the other parent sole custody of the child.

That being said, if you are someone who has fought and won the battle against substance abuse and you can prove that you have sought help or otherwise taken steps to address your substance abuse issue, you may request a modification to your initial custody agreement. As long as the court believes that you will have a positive impact on your child’s life, you may receive a modification to increase the amount of time you can spend with them. Our firm is here to help you through every step of the process ahead.

Contact our experienced New Jersey firm

We understand how confusing certain legal issues can be, which is why we are dedicated to providing individuals with the compassionate and knowledgeable legal representation they deserve. Aronsohn, Weiner, Salerno & Kaufman has helped clients with various difficult legal challenges for over 40 years. We know we have the experience needed to do the same for you. For experienced legal counsel regarding family law, litigation, business law, real estate, and criminal law, you know where to turn–contact Aronsohn, Weiner, Salerno & Kaufman today to schedule a consultation.