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Evidence needed to prove alcohol abuse in child custody cases

Many factors lead couples in Virginia to pursue divorce, but the endangerment of a child adds urgency to the matter for a concerned parent. A recent letter to an advice columnist from a father worried about his child in the company of a heavy-drinking mother highlights the need to collect evidence about an alcohol or drug-abusing spouse.

The man disclosed that his wife had rarely tended the child and complained about being asked to watch the child after school before the man got home from work. during the separation, his wife had gotten a new telephone number and blocked him on social media. These actions prevented him from contacting her even when she had their son. He worried that she might drive drunk with the boy in the car.

The advice columnist advised him to seek information from witnesses such as friends, neighbors or childcare workers about her drinking. Witness statements would be crucial if the wife did not have any drunk driving arrests on record. If he has evidence documenting a drinking habit, especially in the presence of the child, then a court might consider as an emergency a petition for custody.

Any person who needs to establish an agreement or a court order for child custody should get guidance from a family law attorney. Information about parental rights and how to approach the court if a child is subject to abuse or neglect could empower a person who needs to protect a child. An attorney could also prepare the paperwork to file in court as well as attempt to negotiate a settlement with the other parent. If acceptable terms do not emerge from private negotiations, then an attorney could advance the client's claim in court.

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