Poughkeepsie, NY asked in Family Law and Child Custody for New York

Q: Can i take my kids mom to court for not telling me she was in treatment

My sons mother had full physical custody. In the past 12 months she has had 2 cps reports against her, unfounded, and a hospitalization for what she claims was mental illness that lasted a week. Recently i learned she is in treatment for alcohol abuse. I was never aware this was taking place and im concerned for my child. Can i file a violation because she never notified me of this given the situation and circumstances

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2 Lawyer Answers
Ms. Norka M. Schell
Ms. Norka M. Schell pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Divorce Lawyer
  • New York, NY

A: The use of drugs and alcohol can affect the entire family; however, the impact of parental alcohol or drug abuse can be devastating to a child. In cases involving children, the court’s objective is to come to a custody arrangement that is in the best interest of the child. Parental substance abuse can deprive the child of stability, safety and a healthy relationship with the using parent, the court takes parental drug and alcohol use seriously. When accusations of alcohol or drug use arise, the judge will likely order one or both parents to submit to testing.

James L. Arrasmith
James L. Arrasmith pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Divorce Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: Here is a summary of the key legal considerations in this situation:

- In New York, there is generally no legal requirement that a custodial parent inform the non-custodial parent when they enter treatment for something like alcohol abuse. However, significant issues that could impact the child should be communicated.

- You could potentially file for a modification of custody if you believe your child's current living situation with his mother poses a risk to his safety or well-being. You would need to provide evidence to the court detailing your concerns.

- A parent's alcohol abuse does not automatically equate loss of custody, but it is a factor the court would consider in assessing the child's best interests related to custody. The court will evaluate the extent of impairment and impact of the abuse.

- If your custody order contains specific clauses requiring informing you of certain types of incidents or treatment, and she violated those clauses, that could potentially serve as grounds for a contempt motion against her for violating the court order.

- Consultation with a local family law attorney is advisable to discuss the specifics of your situation and options. The attorney can help craft an appropriate legal strategy based on the details of your case if you wish to petition for modification or make a contempt motion.

I hope this gives you a general overview of how the law approaches this type of situation. Best of luck.

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