How Can I Protect My Children from Their Alcoholic Parent’s Child Custody in Texas?

Ensuring the well-being and safety of children is a primary concern for every parent. But what happens when the other parent’s alcohol abuse becomes a potential threat? At DSS Family Law in Austin, Texas, we frequently assist clients who grapple with this very challenge.

The Impact of Alcohol Abuse on Children

Beyond the immediate risks of neglect or physical harm, alcohol abuse by a parent can have profound long-term consequences for a child’s mental and emotional health. The chaotic environment, broken promises, and potential verbal or even physical altercations can lead to anxiety, depression, and trust issues in children. Recognizing this, Texas law has provisions to ensure the child’s safety and emotional well-being. 

How Texas Courts Assess Parental Fitness

Texas courts prioritize the child’s best interests. When assessing a parent’s fitness, courts examine:

  • The parent’s ability to cater to the child’s physical, emotional, and psychological needs.
  • Their capability to maintain a safe and stable home environment.
  • Their effectiveness in co-parenting.
  • If it’s evident that a parent’s alcohol abuse hampers their caregiving abilities, courts might limit or entirely revoke their access to the child.

Comprehensive Legal Measures to Shield Your Child

Often a situation involving an alcoholic parent requires other powers to intervene in order to protect their child from an alcoholic spouse. Here are some of the legal measures to consider with an Austin family law attorney

  • Sole Managing Conservatorship: This legal tool can grant you predominant decision-making rights concerning your child’s welfare, thereby minimizing risks associated with the alcoholic parent.
  • Restricting Access: Depending on the severity, the courts might mandate restricted interactions ranging from limited supervised visits to complete non-contact orders.
  • Therapy & Counseling: Sometimes, the solution isn’t just restriction but rehabilitation. Courts can direct the alcoholic parent to attend therapy or counseling sessions, fostering a healthier relationship in the long run.
  • Routine Testing: Regularly scheduled drug and alcohol tests can act as both a deterrent and evidence. If the alcoholic parent knows they’re being monitored, they might be more likely to control their consumption.
  • Adjusting Current Orders: Life isn’t static. As situations evolve, previously set possession orders may no longer serve the child’s best interests. You have the right to request a review and potential modification of these orders.

The Role of Alcohol Monitoring Devices

Implementing alcohol monitoring devices offers an additional layer of protection. Devices like Soberlink, a mobile breathalyzer, aid in monitoring a parent’s alcohol levels remotely. Here’s how it works:

  • The device uses facial recognition technology to validate the user.
  • After taking the breath sample, results are sent to a secure online portal.
  • Stakeholders like the other parent, attorneys, or even the court can access these results.

While these devices aren’t legally binding, they can serve as compelling evidence in court. They indicate the parent’s incapability to manage their alcohol intake, subsequently endangering the child.

Does Rehab Influence Custody Custody in Texas?

Choosing to enroll in rehab can be seen in a favorable light by the court. This action can illustrate a parent’s dedication to overcoming their substance challenges and ensuring a stable setting for their child. Nonetheless, the court will prioritize the child’s well-being and evaluate the parent’s capacity to maintain a secure home for child  custody decisions. 

Is It Possible for a Recovering Alcoholic to Secure Child Custody in Texas?

In Texas, a recovering alcoholic stands a chance to regain custody rights, provided they convincingly showcase their dedication to sobriety and their capability to ensure a nurturing and secure environment for their child. The court, in its evaluation, will take into account various determinants including:

  • Duration of Sobriety: How long has the individual been sober? An extended period of sobriety can demonstrate consistency and commitment to recovery.
  • Adherence to Court Mandates: Compliance with court orders, especially those pertaining to rehabilitation and therapy, can favorably influence the court’s decision.
  • Support Systems in Place: Does the recovering parent have a robust support system? Whether it’s participation in support groups, ongoing therapy, or having a network of sober, supportive friends and family, such systems can be a testament to the individual’s efforts to maintain sobriety.
  • Parental Efforts: The court might also look into the initiatives taken by the parent post-rehabilitation. This can include attending parenting classes, engaging in activities that demonstrate responsibility, and maintaining a stable job and living situation.

The overarching principle guiding the court’s decision will remain the well-being and best interests of the child. The court will assess if reinstating custody rights will be beneficial or detrimental to the child’s overall growth, security, and happiness.

Seek Guidance From An Austin Family Attorney 

Protecting your children from an alcoholic parent’s influence is undeniably challenging. However, equipped with the right legal tools and professional guidance, you can ensure a safer environment for your child. At DSS Family Law  our experienced attorneys are dedicated to safeguarding your rights and your child’s best interests. Reach out to us at Deyerle Silva Smith for top tier family law legal services in Austin, Texas. 

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See what our clients are saying about their case outcomes. 

"Candice, Ashley, and Laurie are highly professional, strategic, thorough, and above all intelligent. They helped me stay organized (which is no small feat), gracefully pivoted in the face of challenges, and provided emotional clarity in times of distress, even when those challenges and distressful situations were due to missteps by me. In my case, Candice routinely exhibited prescience regarding which matters deserved focus and which matters were distractions, which saved time, and money. Ashley expertly delivered to the court clear, concise, and highly effective summaries of complex topics. More than once, Candice and Ashley noticed and brought to light critical details that easily would have been missed and that had a huge impact. I couldn't say enough about how much this team helped me through my ordeal."
Greg Banister
"Lianna inspired confidence from my first contact with her. Her calming demeanor and good information convinced me to let her handle my divorce, and I believe that was a good decision to this day. She handled my divorce very professionally and respectfully and with favorable results. I can easily recommend Team Lianna for divorce matters."
Neil Sembower
"Incredibly experienced - Produces great results Kody was the best decision I made when choosing legal representation. His experience was invaluable in helping me understand the ramifications of each option and choices available during my divorce proceedings. The professional nature of Kody and his team was evident by their responsiveness and execution. Preparation meant everything as we headed into mediation and I felt supported and empowered by his informed and organized approach. He was sensitive and honest about the cost/benefit of each complex element of our assets/liabilities which led to a successful agreement and avoided costly litigation. Divorce is a major life event that has a long lasting impact on everyone involved. His guidance during this difficult time has made the experience positive for me and has laid a strong framework for my future and my children's future as I move forward."
"Divorce sucks. The issues keep coming years later. No other way to phrase it. My experience with the firm was top notch. I retained the firm for a mediation in an effort to have more visitation with my two young boys. My attorney (Lianna Smith) took my concerns and helped build a plan around what wanted. During all the times of frustration, Lianna would constantly talk me off the ledge and remind me to play the long game. Her paralegal (Laurie Theriot) was always available to answer a question or look up something. Laurie is a jewel!"
Richard Lazo
"Ultimately what needed to get done was done. But throughout the several months I used their service, I had to prompt them to do things. I also caught numerous errors that I feel like they should have caught prior to sending me something to approve. Fortunately I have had experience reviewing legal documents, though I’m definitely not an attorney. When I would send Laurie, the paralegal assigned to me, an email she was very responsive, so that was a good experience. I never had trouble getting ahold of them, I just usually had to prompt the communication and I did not think it was appropriate that I had to point out as many errors in legal documents as I did. If you are not prone to reading everything, proceed with caution."
Michael Bullock
"Knowledgeable, Realistic, Compassionate, & Gets Results When first meeting with Mr. Silva, he asked me, ideally, what I would like to get out of the divorce process and to prioritize them. He walked me thru how the legal process would work and then laid out a strategy to try to reach objectives we had set and agreed upon. Mr. Silva was very knowledgeable of the law and of the Williamson County court system. Mr. Silva and his team were always very responsive whenever I had a question or concern regarding my case. Mr. Silva valued my time and concerns. When is was all said and done, the strategy that Mr. Silva had laid out, worked, and we were able to achieve our top three priorities in the case. I would definitely retain him again in the future if the need ever arose."
"I needed an understanding divorce lawyer to help me complete complicated and detailed divorce. One that had been winding through the process in Washington DC and needed to start over and be re-executed in Texas. Laurie Theriot and her paralegal Candace Deyerle were amazing to work with and so helpful on the detail work. Thanks to the whole thing in helping set me free. I could not recommend them enough."
Victoria G.
"I went through a difficult divorce recently that required experience with LGBTQ issues. Picking Kody for my legal counsel was the best choice I could have made. I knew from the first meeting with Kody that he was completely invested in my case and would give it the attention it would require. He proved to be an exceptional lawyer. He was fair-minded, professional, and realistic at all times, even when my ex-wife’s lawyer was trying to make it extremely difficult to stay civil. He knew when to be firm and unwavering with the opposing counsel, which ultimately resulted in an agreement without having to go to court. Kody and his paralegal, Priscilla, are an excellent team. They were friendly and responsive at all times. The billing of my case was handled in a very prudent and efficient manner. I wouldn't hesitate to hire Kody again in the future."
"Outstanding Job Lianna listen to me and was compassion to my situation. She worked with me and guided me as to what I would be expecting during the whole divorce. She outline detail by detail the steps that were going to be taken. She was always there to answer my concerns and questions. During the mediation she fought all the way to make sure that I got my fair share. Her attention to detail was awesome. I couldn't had asked for a better lawyer than her. I had met with other lawyers before her and they didn't acknowledge the pain I was going through. However, when I met with her she listen and was so understanding toward my pain that I immediately knew she will fight for me."

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