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When can you modify child custody due to substance abuse?

During a divorce, Maryland courts strive to craft custody arrangements that allow children to spend sufficient time and build healthy relationships with both parents.

However, children may need protection if one parent abuses drugs or alcohol. The co-parent may need to consider options for limiting a child’s contact with the other parent.

Gathering evidence to request a custody modification

The courts attempt to operate in facts and not mere suspicions. A comment by a child or other party may not be enough to convince a judge to change the original agreement.

The co-parent can look for substantiated details about substance abuse and aberrant behavior. Criminal records and police reports are often reliable sources of evidence.

Medical records and psychological evaluations can also be helpful. If a parent has entered treatment centers, that information can make a case for a modified agreement.

The co-parent can also consider other people who have witnessed the parent’s behavior or have intimate knowledge about it. Friends, neighbors and family members might serve as witnesses.

Filing a motion

A person who desires to file a motion must demonstrate how the child’s circumstances have changed and become detrimental. Specificity is vital. For example, details about how the other parent’s behavior affects the child’s emotional health, physical well-being or school performance are critical.

The parent filing the motion should explain how a proposed modification will benefit the child. A court can then set a date for the hearing. The parent filing the motion can continue to gather evidence and prepare for counterarguments.

A child’s security and well-being are paramount to child custody agreements. When one parent behaves negligently, the other has the right to challenge and adjust the arrangement.

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