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Will Going to Treatment Affect the Custody of My Children?

Written on December 22, 2022
Will Going to Treatment Affect the Custody of My Children?

Guest Post from our friends at Dolan + Zimmerman LLP. 

For many sufferers of addiction, going to treatment may seem like an extremely daunting undertaking. Not only does it mean finally accepting help, but also spending time away from their jobs, families, and loved ones. In some cases, individuals may even avoid going to treatment fearing that it will affect their custody of their children. This is because accepting treatment means that they admit to struggling with abuse. Here, we want to explore how people that go to treatment are not punished for seeking help, and that only good things can come from making this seemingly impossible decision. 

Can Substance Abuse Affect Child Custody?

Essentially, substance abuse is one of the quickest ways to lose custody of a child or children in the country. According to the American Addiction Centers, in 2019, an average of 38.9% of children removed from their homes were removed for substance-use-related concerns. So, it’s clear to see that substance abuse in the household is one of the leading reasons for parents losing custody in the United States. Furthermore, if a parent loses custody over their addictions and shows no signs of attempted rehabilitation or a willingness to do so, it is almost guaranteed that the children will never be put in their care again. 

Misconceptions About Treatment And Child Custody 

Receiving professional help for addiction can be misunderstood in society as being reserved for severe cases. Unfortunately, this falsehood greatly impacts what people believe will happen to their children if they do so. Some of the major misconceptions about treatment and child custody that dissuade individuals from receiving the help they need include:

  • They will be seen as unfit to care for their children because they struggle with substance abuse
  • Their former spouse or partner will receive full custody of the children
  • They will never regain custody if they already lost it

Benefits Of Going To Treatment As a Parent

In almost all circumstances, the pros of going to addiction treatment far outweigh any cons or misconceptions that people might have. This is particularly the case for parents struggling to keep, regain, or share custody of their children. There are countless success stories of parents that were unlikely to ever have custody of their children again regaining full custody. However, this is only after they sought the help they needed, turned their life around, and became the loving, responsible parents they always were at heart. Furthermore, few things look better to a judge or case manager than a parent taking the necessary steps to combat their addiction and move their life in a different direction. So, when in doubt, always consider the benefits of going to treatment, even if the rewards seem unlikely or too far away to imagine.

How To Plan For Rehab When You Have Children

The key to this type of planning is keeping one common goal: Help your children maintain normalcy. Allow the following list to cover the basics for your rehab preparation:

  1. Who will be in charge of taking care of your kids?
  2. Where will they be staying?
  3. Will they still be able to attend school consistently?
  4. Is there a group or individual therapy you can connect your child with?
  5. Do research on your chosen rehab facility to ensure visiting hours can be frequent.
  6. Explain your situation to your child in a way they’ll understand. If your child is younger, saying you’re sick and going away for a little might be effective enough for the time being. If your child is older, having a more detailed and honest conversation with them can help them process your time away more effectively. 
  7. Have a plan to reintegrate yourself into your children’s lives by coordinating individual and group therapies, support groups, and a commitment to your sobriety. 

Treatment Is The Smartest Option

If you are worried about losing your children based on your decision to seek professional help for your addiction, let your fears be put to rest. At the end of the day, the best decision you can make as a parent is to better yourself to allow you to be the best parent that you can be. According to child abuse attorneys at Hallam Law Group, there is only grounds for CPS to get involved in your situation if you are behaving in a neglectful or negligent manner. Ultimately, you are more likely to fully lose custody of your children if you let your disease go unmanaged and unchecked than demonstrate a willingness to change. In addition, by no means does going to rehab mean that you are unfit to parent your children, in fact, it shows the opposite.

To learn more about flexible treatment options for parents, contact one of our admissions specialists today.

Author Bio: Jackson Sawa contributes as a writer for Dolan + Zimmerman LLP, covering a number of legal topics. When he isn’t at his computer, you can usually find him outside or researching something that only he finds interesting.