Substance Abuse Attorneys in Dallas
Substance Abuse Law in Texas
One of the most rampant problems plaguing families today is substance abuse. Drug and alcohol addiction are serious illnesses that can affect a person’s physical health, personal relationships, and overall well-being.
If you, your spouse, or another family member is a substance abuser, seek help and guidance for both yourself and your loved ones. Whether you are seeking protection from physical abuse stemming from substance abuse or you are filing for divorce, The Branch Law Firm is here to help.
Drug abuse is a rampant issue in the U.S. In 2017 alone, over 70,000 people died from drug overdose, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Today, opioids – such as OxyContin, Vicodin, and fentanyl – have become widely abused due to their highly addictive properties.
Many people are affected by:
- Mixing drugs with alcohol
- Purchasing tainted or laced drugs
Alcohol affects a person’s entire body. Not only can it affect a person physically, it can drastically affect their mental state. Alcohol is extremely addicting and can be deadly when abused.
There are numerous resources for individuals battling alcohol abuse or addiction, including:
- Alcohol abuse treatment programs
Substance Abuse Screening & Drug Testing
In many cases where substance abuse is known or suspected, the court can order a party to undergo testing for drug or alcohol abuse. A screening can determine the presence and extent of abuse, which will inform the court’s decisions regarding child custody, visitation, and other important family matters. The screening results will also help formulate treatment recommendations. Keep in mind that these drug testing and alcohol abuse screening results cannot be the only factor in a court’s custody or visitation decision – the court must consider other factors as well as the child’s best interests.
Drug Abuse & Divorce - What to Expect
Substance abuse is a common cause of fractured relationships. When one partner is a substance abuser, it can significantly impact the relationship or marriage.
Although you do not need a reason to get divorced in Texas, you may cite your partner’s substance abuse as a ground when filing for divorce. Texas allows for 7 different types of grounds when filing a divorce, alcohol and substance abuse being one of them.
One partner’s known substance abuse can impact the judge’s decisions regarding property division, alimony, and child custody:
- Child Custody - The Texas Family Code states that any judge making a decision based on child custody or support must do so with the child's best interests in mind. This means if the parent cannot provide a stable & safe environment, their custody and visitation rights may be at stake. If the judge finds that the substance abuser is a danger to the child, then any type of access to the child may be fully restricted.
Alimony - The judge may examine the amount of finances that were used to purchase
the drugs or alcohol when determining alimony. If the addiction caused
the couple's finances to become negatively affected, their may be a more
favorable award of alimony payments. Of course, the spouse asking for
alimony must wait on its availability, which can depend on factors such as:
- The length of the marriage
- The health, age, and well-being of the requesting spouse
- Past charges of abuse
- Property Division - A court will take note if a substance abuser has misused marital property to fund their addiction. In addition, a judge may use property as a replacement for alimony payments, if the situation is appropriate.
Substance abuse can affect many aspects of a divorce – it is important to discuss your unique situation with our Dallas attorneys so that we can appropriately consider the circumstances when advising you.
How Substance Abuse Relates to Domestic Violence & Child Abuse
Substance abuse is a common link between domestic violence and child abuse. Individuals who abuse drugs or alcohol are less likely to be able to control emotions and think clearly – especially when they are under the influence.
Substance abuse often plays a role in both domestic violence and child abuse by triggering or exacerbating violence. According to the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, more than 75% of people who begin treatment for drug addiction report having committed violent acts.
The Branch Law Firm stands as a resource for the victims of domestic violence and child abuse. Our highest priorities are protecting those who face violence and helping those who battle substance abuse. Navigating a divorce or a family matter involving substance abuse is undoubtedly overwhelming and emotional, but our Dallas substance abuse attorneys are here to help.
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