It's common for alcohol abuse to lead to marital issues and to ultimately end a marriage. If a couple with children is divorcing, a spouse's alcohol consumption can cause issues for them in gaining custody or visitation rights to their children.
Even if a parent has gotten sober, it's only natural for their co-parent to have concerns for their kids' safety when they're alone with that parent. Judges and social workers may share those concerns.
If you're working to gain visitation or custody rights to your children, one solution to offer the court may be to agree to participate in an alcohol monitoring system. These systems work differently, and the types of monitoring can vary. With one popular brand, Soberlink, parents may undergo testing only during their parenting time or on a daily basis, whether they're with their kids or not. Sobriety is monitored via a Breathalyzer-type tool.
These monitoring systems can give a parent who has struggled with alcohol a strong incentive to maintain their sobriety. They can also help the other parent regain trust in their co-parent to deal with their problem and put their children's welfare ahead of anything else. This objective monitoring system also relieves the other parent of the burden of trying to determine whether their co-parent is sober before letting them take the kids.
If a third party like a social services agency has become involved in a child custody case, the test results can be sent to them and/or the court to demonstrate that a parent is staying sober or at least committing to staying sober while their children are in their care. The ultimate goal for everyone is generally that children be able to continue to have both of their parents in their lives, but to also be safe while with each parent.
If issues with alcohol, whether currently or in the past, have jeopardized your parental rights or if you have a co-parent with an alcohol issue that makes you concerned to leave your kids alone with them, you may want to talk with your California family law attorney about the pros and cons of an alcohol monitoring system.