Anytime the question of drug addiction or alcoholism arises during disagreements between two divorced parents; the argument can become increasingly volatile. Addiction and alcoholism, especially coupled with the anger and frustration of the process of getting a divorce, could lead an addicted parent to cause harm – intentionally or unintentionally – to a child during their allowed visitation. For this reason, it is likely that your Greenville divorce attorney at Elliott Frazier Law has worked with many parents who are seeking to remove visitation privileges from an alcoholic or addicted parent.
The process of removing the visitation privileges from an addicted or alcoholic parent in order to protect your children from a potentially harmful situation can be tricky. Alcohol is not illegal, and it is perfectly legal to drink in front of children. Many drugs that are abused are prescription and may have been legally obtained. In order to help you better understand the laws regarding alcoholism and addiction as it relates to your particular situation, you should speak to a Greenville divorce attorney in South Carolina, but here is a little overview of what the state law of South Carolina says on the subject.
The Intent and Purpose of Title 63
According to South Carolina State Law section 63, also known as “Title 63,” any time the state intervenes in the life of a family on behalf of that family’s children, the state must be guided by law, strong philosophical justifications, and sound professional standards. In other words, if the state interferes with the relationship between a parent and child, there needs to be a strong and compelling reason to do so.
The law also makes clear that the court must acknowledge and respect that every family is unique and has different needs for intervention. There are no “catch-all” solutions in matters of divorce, custody, and visitation – if there were, there would be a greatly reduced need for Greenville divorce attorneys. The state and court are instructed by Title 63 to establish a system of services statewide in order to maintain and safeguard the well-being of children who are in dangerous situations and to preserve a stable family life whenever possible and appropriate.
South Carolina Visitation Law
The laws regarding visitation covered in South Carolina’s Title 63 make very little mention of alcohol or addiction. In fact, only one provision is made regarding alcohol consumption. Title 63 states that a parent who is found guilty of domestic abuse will be faced with certain restrictions, including supervision, and abstention on possessing or consuming alcohol or drugs both during visitation time and for 24 hours prior.
In certain cases, if the need is particularly dire, you and your Greenville divorce attorney may successfully get visitation rights suspended. But given the legal weight behind the parent’s right to visitation in most cases, this suspension is usually temporary pending a thorough review of the case or compliance with certain stipulations, including a treatment program.
The Role of Drugs and Alcohol in Domestic Abuse and Child Endangerment
As divorce attorneys in Greenville, SC, the question of protecting children is one that is very important to both us, and to our clients. Legally speaking, child protection laws prevent the state from intervening before an actual case of neglect, abuse, or endangerment occurs and is documented – and for a parent who has a compelling reason to believe their child is in danger, though the child has not yet come to harm, this can be a scary implication of South Carolina state law.
South Carolina Code, in Section 56-5, states several provisions regarding breaking the law in a vehicle with passengers under age 16. According to South Carolina state Law, this counts as child endangerment and driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol would certainly fall into this category. However, it falls to the other parent to “catch” said former spouse driving while intoxicated with the children. Should that happen, the parent may alert police, who would be able to make an arrest.
Consult with a Greenville Divorce Attorney About Your Case
If you believe you have reason to be concerned about an ex-spouse visiting with your children due to their alcohol or drug addiction, you should contact an experienced Greenville divorce attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney can help you convince a judge that your children need help, potentially diffusing the situation before something terrible occurs. Get in touch with an experienced Greenville divorce attorney at the Elliott Frazier Law Firm today.
Angela Elliot Frazier is a Family Law Attorney who practices in Greenville, SC. She graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Law, and has been practicing law for 14 years now. Angela Frazier believes in helping you through one of the most stressful times of your life. Learn more about her experience by clicking here.