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Dads with substance abuse history may need legal help

Many dads in the Phoenix area struggle with substance abuse. Whether this is due to some youthful mistake or is part of another deep-seated issue, these men may have their lives affected in a number of ways by their substance abuse addictions. Some may even wind up getting convicted of a drug-related offense in one of Arizona's criminal courts.

Arizona has laws that make it more difficult for men to have full custody and parenting time rights with their children when they have a documented history of abusing drugs or alcohol, especially if they have also been convicted of a drug-related crime.

For instance, if the child's mother can prove the conviction or demonstrate the man's history of substance abuse, then the court must presume that the father should not be allowed to share the responsibility of making important decisions for his children. While the man can present evidence that his addiction will not affect his ability to make decisions for his child, doing so requires making a case in court.

Additionally, in some cases, substance abuse may be grounds for the court to order a dad to have only supervised visits. This can happen, for instance, if the child's mother presents evidence that the substance abuse may cause harm to the children in question.

A dad who has a history of drug use should not despair that he will not be able to have a relationship with his children, however. There are legal options available to him, including the option to contest allegations in court or, at a minimum, show that he is still fit to have unsupervised parenting time and joint decision-making authority over his child. In some cases, he may have to work out a plan under which he can have full rights down the road.

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