Child custody may prove difficult enough on its own, but one parent may struggle with substance abuse during this portion of the divorce. How does receiving treatment affect the court’s child custody decision?

Vertava Health explores potential outcomes while and after a parent receives treatment. Parents should know how to handle their situation while showing up for their shared children.

During treatment

While one parent receives treatment, the shared child likely stays in the non-addicted parent’s custody or with a dependable family member, depending on what the court decides. The parent undergoing treatment should work with the other parent to decide how to care for the child during the duration of treatment, which often lasts from seven to 10 weeks. The parent in treatment may worry about losing custody of the child while getting help, but receiving professional help often works in the parent’s favor by showing the court she or he takes responsibility for getting better.

After treatment

Once the parent completes substance abuse treatment, she or he may receive full custody of a shared child, but that depends on individual circumstances. If the struggling parent previously lost all parental rights, she or he could have a chance to regain those rights. This may involve showing the court proof of completing substance abuse treatment, consenting to regular drug tests and displaying an ongoing commitment to remaining sober. A parent receiving treatment must understand that it may take time to prove to the court that she or he deserves to regain parental rights.

Parents undergoing inpatient substance abuse treatment must focus on their recovery. Getting better could improve their chances of regaining custody of their child.