Addiction and custody

What provisions should be in the separation agreement regarding custody and visitation to protect children when one spouse has a chronic pill addiction? Routine drug testing as a provision to see the children? Sole vs joint custody?

Routine drug test by hair follicle can be helpful. For legal custody, it may be a good idea for the other parent to be able to have final decision-making authority for all major decisions. You can also include requirements that the parent with an addiction seek therapy/treatment and follow all recommendations of the treating professional, take and complete substance abuse classes, etc. You will want to pay careful attention to the custody and visitation schedule as well.

If one parent has an untreated addiction, the better course of action would be to have custody terms in a court order rather than a separation agreement. This can make modification and enforcement easier in the event there is a problem in the future affecting the safety and/or wellbeing of the minor child(ren) due to the parent with the addiction.

Anna Ayscue

Attorney with Rosen Law Firm Cary • Chapel Hill • Durham • Raleigh • Wake Forest

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