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Laws vary drastically by state and country. It is impossible for an attorney to provide legal advice or legal services on JustAnswer. What follows is neither legal advice nor a legal service and may/not apply in your particular state. What follows is general information provided for educational purposes only. No attorney-client relationship is formed. T-USA is not your attorney. No attorney-client privilege exists. Anything you write can be used in court if discovered by an opposing party.
The following information is provided for the purpose of encouraging you to seek, in person, the counsel of an attorney who is licensed to practice law in your particular state. It is essential to consult such an attorney as soon as possible.
In most jurisdictions, the main goals of the court should be to promote contact with both parents if both parents are able to act in the best interests of the child, place the child in a safe, stable, nonviolent environment, and encourage parents to share the rights and duties of parenthood. However, courts generally err on the side of protecting the children, thus making the focus of most courts "the best interests of the child." Factors courts choose to consider often include:
a. Child's gender, age, and health
b. Health, lifestyle, and social habits of parents.
c. Parent-child bond.
d. Parent's ability to raise child and provide for the child.
e. Community factors (school, home, religious, etc.) that may be altered by custody determination.
f. Child preference (depending on the state and the age of the child).
If one parent has shown himself irresponsible and unfit to share custody of the child, the court may refuse to grant such custody. In such a situation, the court may also choose to refuse to order visitation rights. Alternatively, the court may choose to order supervised visitation for that parent. With supervised visitation, the party supervising the visitation could ensure that the visiting parent is not under the influence during any visitations. Further, a court could order that the visiting parent not abuse substances during visitations or custodial situations, thus allowing the court to find the visiting parent in contempt if he violates that order.
Unfortunately, there are no guarantees. Usually, to limit a parent's visitation or custodial rights for such reasons, more than accustions are required. However, a court may usually order a drug test for a party.
Child-related matters are major factors in life. Accordingly, before taking any legal action, a person should consult an attorney who is licensed to practice in your state about this matter. While I realize that this can be a great expense, it would be an excellent investment. If money is scarce, there may be low-cost or free legal clinics available to you for this purpose. The state bar association may be able to assist you in locating those. If there are no such clinics, you may be able to work out a payment plan with your attorney. Alternatively, you may be able to seek a loan or pay your attorney via credit card. While it is possible to represent one's self, it is always advisable to have a qualified attorney's assistance.
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You should consult an attorney who is licensed to practice in your state about these matters. You can find an attorney licensed to practice law in your state through your state's lawyer referral services: