Alcoholism can turn even the most good-natured person into an unpredictable danger. Because of this, the court is very uncomfortable assigning any child custody rights to an alcoholic parent, including both physical and legal custody. Doing so could potentially jeopardize a child’s well-being, which the court would never do willingly. Even if the alcoholic parent is not physically threatening or emotionally abusive, an alcohol addiction will more than likely disrupt their parenting responsibilities.
If you have children and are currently divorcing an alcoholic spouse, you may have questions about proving alcoholism in custody cases. Unfortunately, your word is not enough to effectively convince a judge. This is especially true when it comes to something as important as a custody order. In order to maximize the effectiveness your argument, you must provide real-world evidence of your spouse’s alcohol abuse.
3 Key Examples of Evidence of Alcoholism
Some examples of proof of alcoholism that you can use to effectively argue your case in court include the following:
- Court-mandated treatments. Was your spouse ever ordered by the court to participate in some form of treatment for alcoholism? No matter the reason the court mandated such treatments, you can use this order to help prove your case for your spouse’s addiction to alcohol. Even if your spouse participated in and complete the treatments, you can remind the court that expert professionals agree that alcoholism is rarely ever cured.
- DUI arrests. A powerful tool that you can use to help prove your case against your spouse is a driving under the influence (DUI) charge, arrest, or conviction. Furthermore, other types of alcohol-related arrests are also useful, such as public intoxication. If your spouse expunges or seals their past criminal record in order to hide a DUI arrest, a family law attorney can help you reveal the arrest to the court.
- Medical records. Was your spouse ever admitted to the hospital or emergency care for alcohol-related injuries or conditions? Then you can use that record to help effectively argue your case in court. If your spouse cannot even take care of themselves, then how can they also take care of a child?
Even if you don’t have the evidence listed above, there other ways proving alcoholism in custody cases.
How to Prove a Spouse’s Alcohol Abuse
Request an EtG Alcohol Hair Test
Whenever alcohol gets consumed, a lasting trace of ethyl alcohol is left in the hair. This is known as EtG, or ethyl glucoronide. Your Fresno divorce attorney can request your spouse to undergo an EtG alcohol hair test. This hair test will analyze for EtG, which means the consumption of alcohol is present. Since the test is conducted in a state lab with powerful equipment, it is considered reliable and accurate. The test will show whether the person is a heavy or light drinker.
Establish Drinking Patterns
In order to consume alcohol, your spouse would probably have to purchase it fairly regularly. Credit card statements do not lie. Your family law attorney can help establish a pattern of regularly buying alcohol through your spouse’s credit card or bank statements. Specifically, your attorney will determine how much money your spouse spends on alcohol per week or month. However, keep in mind that this won’t give the judge the full picture. It will only establish that a pattern of drinking is present.
Obtain Witness Testimony
Alcoholism is hard to hide. Chances are if your spouse was regularly intoxicated, there are other witnesses to help back up your claim. This may include other family members or friends, neighbors, or your spouse’s co-workers. Or, if your spouse frequented a local bar, you may even consider using the bartender as a witness.
Get Help Proving Alcoholism in Custody Cases
If your spouse is an alcoholic and you want to protect your child from the unpredictable nature of their disease, an experienced Fresno child custody attorney can help. We have experience in proving alcoholism in custody cases. To learn more about how we assist you in protecting yourself and your child, contact the Law Offices of Rick D. Banks today.