How to Co-Parent When Your Ex is a Recovering Drug Addict

One of the toughest things for someone in a relationship is co-parenting with a partner that has been battling with an addiction problem.  When the relationship ends, it can be quite hard to determine what is going to be the best way to care for the children involved.  One of the biggest concerns is over the safety and well-being of the children involved.

Most people who have lived with a partner that has a drug addiction wind up feeling let down, sad, and worn out over the issues that they have had to deal with.  A full scale custody battle might end up being your first reaction.  However, going through all of that can prove to be too much for you as well as too much for your children.  There are many other ways that you can settle things with your ex without having to go through with a full stage custody battle.


Children Can Be Damaged By a Custody Battle

Most people end up forgetting about the children that they are fighting for when they are going through a custody battle.  There is a lot of psychological damage that can be done to children who are going through a custody battle.  Many children who go through this end up with the same issues as children who have been emotionally abused or neglected.

In recent studies conducted by the Massachusetts General Hospital, it showed that 65% of all children who go through a custody battle end up suffering from anxiety.  27% of the children actually became depressed while 44% were physically violent.  Additionally, 31% ended up suffering from a sleep disorder.  It was also shown that these children struggle to have healthy relationships and friendships.  They are also more likely to suffer from attachment issues as they have a hard time dealing with the loss of relationship that they feel with the non-custodial parent. Therefor, it’s important to learn how to comfort your children during  a divorce or custody battle.


Forced Arrangements Are Often Problematic

There are few parents who fight for custody in court that end up with satisfactory visitation schedules.  When a court decides the custody, it is not as agreeable and both parents are not as happy as when an agreement is reached outside of court.  Agreements that are made within the family structure tend to be more tailored to each family’s specific needs.  When two co-parents go through a court battle for custody, they end up spending a considerable amount of money and typically end up with a relationship that is n a worse place then it was before the custody battle started.  Even if you are not in a relationship with the other parent, you should attempt to have a friendship and civil relationship for the sake of any children involved.


Protecting the Child While Being Proactive

Many people do not realize that even if your ex is battling a drug addiction that there are steps you can take to ensure that the two of you can have a healthy co-parenting relationship.  During recovery, it is important that you maintain the day to day physical custody of the children.  You should maintain a positive relationship with your ex and help aide in the recovery by allowing them to see your children during appropriate times.  As long as your ex is remaining sober, you should encourage more contact between them and the children.  There should be a shared parenting agreement or a continued increase in the other parent’s ability to see the children as they continue to recover and get better.

It is important that you acknowledge the efforts of your ex in their ability to stay sober and clean.  It is also important that you should have an open dialogue about the consequences of your ex falling back into their drug addiction or drug use.  Showing that they are able to stay clean is important and when they are able to prove this, so is allowing them to see their child more liberally.  Going through family therapy together can be a great way of being able to set up boundaries and discuss any fears or worries that you might have about the safety of your children.  It can also be a great way for them to feel encouraged to maintain their sobriety in order to obtain more time with their children.



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Leaving The State with Your Child for a New Job

If you are divorced or have a child our of wedlock with your Ex, the situation could arise where you might want to leave the state with your child in order to obtain employment in another state.  This is one situation that is always based on a case by case scenario and what’s already been established in your previous child custody order, but can really be a hard if the other parent is objecting to such a move.  When objected you will have to have burden of proof that shows that your child will be better off where you are going.


Lots of Factors to Think About

State Laws

One of the biggest things that will affect whether or not you can leave the state that you live in with your child are state laws.  State laws can drastically vary by state so depending on where you live it could be hard or easy to move to another state.


Distance of Move

Another thing that you should consider is how far away you are moving.  If you are moving within 150 miles of your home, it is going to be easier to move then if you are planning on moving further away.  Thinking about how the child will be able to see the other parent on a regular basis will be important when you are planning a move.


Visitation Schedule

 Ensuring that the other parent has liberal visitation is also important when you are moving.  Making sure that you present a schedule that is going to accommodate the other parent’s visitation is important.  Prepare to give up a considerable amount of your time with your child when they are not in school as they are likely going to be with the other parent the majority of the time.  If your child is not school aged, then it might work for them to be able to spend periods of one month at a time with each parent.  Holidays and school breaks are also things that you will need to think about.


Quality of Life

Another thing that you will want to do is make sure that you are improving your child’s quality of life.  This means that you are going to prove that your child has a top education and that they are going to be able to do the things that they did where you are currently living.  Sports schedules, extra-curricular activities, and the school’s overall rating is very important.


Steps You Need to Take

There are many steps that you need to take to be able to move with your child to another state.  The following is a list of the steps that you should take to ensure that you will be able to move as you wish.


Step 1 – Get a Job

The first thing that you are going to need is a job offer.  Make sure that you are applying for the right type of jobs that will be careers.  If the job is one that you can find where you live, then there is no reason for you to move anywhere else.  Finding a government job is one thing that you might want to consider.


Step 2 – Talk to Your Child’s Other Parent

The next step that you should take is that you want to make sure that you are talking with your child’s other parent.  If you can get the other parent on board and you can agree to terms for the move, then it is going to work out best for the both of you.  If you can’t get them on board it could end up in a full trial.


Step 3 – Talk to a Legal Professional

If the other parent is not on board, then you will likely end up going to trial before you can remove the child from the state that you are currently living in.  If the other parent is on board, the attorney will only be needed for paperwork that will need to be signed by a judge.  Depending on if you go to trial this can be something that does not cost much or something that ends up costing a lot, so make sure that you are evaluating all options to stay in the state with child if the other parent is opposed.

Even though living in the same state as your child’s other parent is typically ideal, there are many factors that might be in play where your child would be moved out of state.  If you are considering moving your child, there are a lot of things that could factor into a judge’s decision on what would be best for your children.

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The Difference Between Joint and Physical Custody

If you are a parent and you are going through a divorce then one of the things that is going to be discussed immediately is the custody of the children. There are two main types of custody when it comes to the kids, joint and physical. If you are going through any type of custody battle or situation then it is important to understand the difference between these two.

Joint Custody

When someone is awarded joint custody, the custody of the child is shared 50/50. This means that the child is going to spend 50% of their time with you and 50% of their time with their other parent. In some cases the percentages can not be exact but they should be close. In today’s divorce courts joint custody, which can also be called shared or equal custody, is becoming the most common ruling. The reason behind this is that studies have shown that children benefit greatly when co-parenting is involved and both parents take an active role in their life.

In addition it seems that more fathers are asking to have equal parenting as they are going through a divorce. In most situations this is the best choice for the child. However, it does require the two parents to live in close proximity to one another. It also requires that the parents be able to get along and that they can make decisions together when it comes to the interest of the child.

Of course if the parents can not get along or if the parents do not live close to one another this is not going to work out for them or the child involved. So if that is the case another type of custody should be considered.

Physical Custody

When one parent of a child is awarded physical custody of that child, then the child is going to live with them. There will be a set visitation schedule for the other parent to get to see the child on a regular and consistent basis. The divorce papers will either call this physical custody or sole physical custody. This type of custody awards the parent with certain rights and responsibilities that are shared between the parents with joint custody.

In most cases the child spends the majority of their time with one parent. The child usually has a week night visit and a visit every other weekend with the parent who does not have custody of the child. The holidays and special events in the child’s life are also shared between the two parents or set schedule is made. Depending on the courts in the area where you live, these visitation schedules can be quite liberal. If you are the parent who has not been awarded physical custody, it is your right to ask that you have liberal visitation times with your child.

The biggest mistake that is made is that the non-custodial parent does not get the court to define a set visitation schedule, liberal or otherwise. For instance with the standard schedule mentioned above, make sure that there is one week night stated in the paperwork if the parents can not agree. This way you are getting your child that one set night regardless. If you leave it open ended you could end up fighting all of the time about what night is best for both you and the child. The custodial parent could have the child in activities that would interfere with your choice of nights and could leave you unable to follow through with the visitation because of work and other things.

Additionally it is very important that pick up and drop off times be stated clearly for all dates of visitation. This should be included for holidays, week night visits, weekends, and vacation periods. If you are awarded the most common type of visitation schedule you can expect that you will have your child one week night, every other weekend, every other holiday (rotating each year so that you have the child on the opposite holidays during the other years), and for two weeks of vacation during the summer. This is pretty much the standard set minimum for visitation.

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