If One Parent Has a History of Excessive Alcohol Consumption, What Protections Can You Seek?

Substance Abuse & Personality Disorders

It is well documented that substance abuse disorders are often comorbid, or simultaneously present with, personality disorders such as Narcissistic Personality Disorder. These disorders and their companions frequently lead to high-conflict, contested divorces where alcohol and substance abuse become major issues.

Court-Ordered Alcohol Restrictions

A common misconception is that a judge can’t limit a parent’s alcohol or tobacco use in child custody cases because both are legal substances. This is untrue; in fact, a judge can even issue an order in special circumstances.

Virginia courts can order alcohol restrictions in custody and visitation cases when one parent has a history of alcohol or substance abuse. In other words, in our experience, judges are extremely unlikely to order alcohol restrictions in cases where there have been no previous history of alcohol-related problems or substance abuse treatments.

In one Virginia case, the court ordered a mother with a drinking problem to refrain from drinking at least 24 hours before her scheduled visitations. The mother was also prohibited from drinking and smoking tobacco around the children. When the mother raised a legal challenge to the restrictions, the Virginia Court of Appeals affirmed the trial judge’s authority to order alcohol and tobacco restrictions during visitation (Silvius, 2005). Other Virginia custody and visitation orders with similar restrictions have been upheld in many other cases.

Seek Legal Guidance Today

Unfortunately, in our experience, judges are reticent to place restrictions on an adult’s alcohol consumption without previous documented substance abuse problems. If your spouse has had run-ins with the law while intoxicated or has been the subject of investigations by child protective services, then you may have a better chance of convincing a Virginia court to place restrictions on alcohol consumption during visitation times.

An experienced Fairfax family law attorney can guide you through this process. Contact the experienced family attorneys at Keithley Law, PLLC, PLLC to schedule an initial consultation today.