Nothing can trigger more anxiety or concern than a dispute over the custody of your children. Who will raise your kids? Will you be able to see them? How do the family law courts in California make child custody determinations? Can an Orange County child custody law firm help?
In some cases, if a California parent has a history of alcohol abuse, that parent can be denied custody and visitation privileges. California courts usually favor joint custody, but if alcohol is a factor in a custody dispute, the court has complete discretion to act in a child’s best interests.
WHAT IS THE PRIORITY IN CALIFORNIA’S FAMILY LAW COURTS?
California’s family law courts are committed to putting the best interests of children first. When a custody dispute comes before the court – during a divorce, after a divorce, or if the parents never married – the courts want to be sure that parents are also putting children’s interests first.
The court takes into account each family’s unique circumstances regarding work, school, transportation, and a number of other factors, but a California family court’s leading concern will always be the best interests of the children.
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IF YOU BELIEVE THAT YOUR CHILD IS AT RISK?
If you are convinced that your child may be at risk in the other parent’s custody, you and your attorney must provide the court with evidence of that risk. When a potential for harm to the child can be proven, the court will act to protect that child.
Child custody cases are commonplace in California. But how can the courts in this state trust parents who have alcohol dependency issues? How can parents work together and trust one another if one parent is addicted to alcohol?
You are about to learn how 21st-century technology is providing a solution.
WHAT WILL THE COURTS CONSIDER IN A CHILD CUSTODY DISPUTE?
When deciding a child custody case, a California family court will make its determination after considering the child’s physical, emotional, educational, and medical needs, the child’s welfare, and anything else that impacts a child’s best interests.
That means the court will take into account a parent’s history of alcoholism or drug addiction. The court wants some assurance that a parent with a history of addiction can be trusted before the court will award custody or visitation privileges to that parent.
If alcohol plays any role in your divorce or child custody case, discuss the alcohol issue at once with an experienced Orange County family law attorney. When a parent is in the grips of drug addiction or alcoholism, that parent can be denied custody or visitation privileges.
HOW CAN PARENTS PREPARE THEMSELVES FOR A CHILD CUSTODY CASE?
If you anticipate a courtroom battle over child custody or visitation privileges, you can prepare yourself for that battle by avoiding any illegal drug use, criminal behavior, or excessive alcohol consumption.
Researchers believe that over 25 million children in the U.S. have at least one parent who struggles with alcohol. And in some cases, even a brief visit with an alcohol-dependent parent can put a child at risk.
The courts can order brief, “supervised” visitations, but what about overnight visitations, weekends, and longer visits?
WHAT IS SOBERLINK?
When a parent seeks custody or visitation privileges, the court may ask that parent to submit to (and pay for) alcohol testing and/or monitoring. Some California courts are now using an advanced alcohol monitoring system called Soberlink.
The Soberlink system is a reliable way to ensure that a child’s time with a parent is time with a parent who is sober. No monitoring system is entirely foolproof, but Soberlink comes close.
Based in Huntington Beach, Soberlink is a healthcare technology firm which produces an alcohol monitoring system that can confirm someone’s identity and sobriety in “real time” – such as parenting time. The Soberlink system:
1. can reduce conflict between parents
2. may motivate a parent to maintain sobriety
3. offers objective proof of alcohol consumption or abstinence
4. can incentivize parents to agree on a parenting plan
5. is consistent with the best interests of the children
HOW DOES SOBERLINK WORK?
Historically, random testing has been the only way that the courts could monitor someone’s alcohol consumption, so excessive drinking often went undetected. And without real-time testing, there was no way to know if alcohol was being consumed during parenting time.
Here is how the Soberlink system works in child visitation cases. The parent who is being monitored arranges a testing schedule that corresponds with his or her parenting time. The parent must submit to breathalyzer testing and agree to using facial recognition technology.
Soberlink has been used by the criminal courts as well as the family courts in California since 2011. Soberlink uses a professional grade breathalyzer that is connected wirelessly by a cellular device to a cloud-based web portal. The system uses:
1. facial recognition technology to verify a subject’s identity
2. tamper-proof sensors to guarantee testing integrity
WHAT ADVANTAGES DOES SOBERLINK PROVIDE?
Soberlink’s cellular devices confirm the subject’s identity during each breath test. Blood alcohol level measurements are transmitted directly to Soberlink’s cloud-based management software. Soberlink provides for flexible testing schedules and specific notification settings.
Working towards sobriety is almost always difficult. So is going through a divorce or a child custody dispute. If alcohol is a concern in your child custody case, talk with your attorney about Soberlink. In many cases, Soberlink can be the answer to a child custody or visitation dispute.
HOW CAN A FAMILY LAW LAW FIRM IN ORANGE COUNTY HELP?
If you are a parent in a child custody dispute in Southern California, you must be advised and represented by a qualified child custody lawyer who understands a parent’s apprehensions and a parent’s concerns.
If you are concerned that your current child custody and visitation arrangement is no longer in your child’s best interests, you’ll need to have a skilled family lawyer request a modification of that arrangement from the court on your behalf.
Let an experienced Orange County family law attorney review your case and your circumstances, discuss your options, and help you make the right choices for yourself and your kids. A good lawyer’s help is your legal right.