Navigating a shared custody plan with a co-parent who struggles with substance abuse poses unique challenges. For example, how do you respond when they arrive to pick up the children for their parenting time but you can tell that they have been drinking?
There are some steps you can take to ensure your children’s safety without violating your court order.
Record your interaction
When your co-parent’s behavior clearly reflects their intoxication, it can help to get it on video. The more evidence you have to support the situation, the better. If the intoxicated co-parent is driving, it is important that you do not let your children get in the car.
Call the police
A police report also works in your favor when you have a dispute such as this. Call the police and ask that an officer respond to your property right away. This is particularly important when you have reason to believe that the other parent may become hostile when you refuse to allow them to take the children.
Offer an alternative
If possible, offer an alternative to the expected visitation. Offer a cup of coffee or water to help them sober up and encourage them to sit and visit for a while. Sometimes, you can prolong this until they can safely drive.
Contact the court right away to file a reconsideration if this is normal behavior. Protect your children and their safety by asking the court to establish supervised visitation due to the negligent actions of the other parent.