During a divorce, all the decisions made are based on information available at the time. This snapshot of a Kentucky family’s life often cannot predict how the future will unfold. A parent who did not have a substance abuse issue at the time could develop one later, which could endanger the children. Modifying the parties’ child custody agreement could be a way to protect the children.
The parent alleging the substance abuse will need to provide evidence to the court that the other parent does have an active substance abuse problem. In addition, it will be necessary to show that the problem makes it difficult for the addicted parent to care for the children. If those two factors are proved, then the judge can modify the child custody agreement.
The court may alter the other parent’s access to the children and may also order supervised visitation depending on the circumstances. However, the court does not necessarily have to stop there. As part of the modified order, the court may let the parent suffering from an addiction know that the modifications will remain in place until he or she can show successfully completes a substance abuse program and/or counseling.
It can be difficult for the Kentucky parent wanting to modify an existing child custody agreement to come to this decision. After all, he or she is contemplating limiting the children access to a parent they love. However, in the best interests of the children and their safety, it may be necessary to take this step and could be the impetus the other parent needs in order to conquer his or her substance abuse issue and move forward into a better future that may once again involve spending quality time with the children.