Although a parent may have a history of drug or alcohol abuse, it may not be a disqualification from obtaining certain parental rights as part of a divorce settlement. Those who study the issue say that the courts place a high value on the relationship between a parent and child. Therefore, a judge may be more likely to take steps to strengthen that bond that other parties likely would not take.
However, there may be conditions attached to a parent's ability to spend time with his or her children. Visitation may be ordered to take place in a public area or while supervised by a third party. A parent may also face restrictions regarding driving with the children in his or her car and may be subjected to random drug tests. Ultimately, the courts will determine the extent of a parent's custody or visitation rights based on what is best for the child.
While both parents may be allowed to have visitation and physical contact with their children, one parent may be given sole legal custody. This is true if one parent already acts as the primary caregiver or if the other parent is going through substance abuse rehab. In all cases, a judge will look at the unique facts presented before making a final decision.
Parents who are going through a child custody dispute may wish to talk to an attorney. Legal counsel may be able to help a parent present facts to a judge that will maximize his or her parental rights by demonstrating that such a court order would be in the best interests of the child.