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What happens to pets in a Texas divorce?

Alcohol use is often cited as a reason for divorce.

Many divorces in Texas are prompted by concerns over the use of alcohol. If alcoholism is a concern for one spouse in divorce, it can play a large role in how the divorce proceedings play out. The most significant factor alcohol plays in divorce occurs when divorcing parents have minor children. Courts take allegations of substance abuse very seriously, so if there is a criminal record or evidence of substance abuse the courts exercise caution when first establishing custody.

False accusations of substance abuse, like false accusations of domestic violence, are extremely detrimental to the person who alleges them. However, for divorcing spouses who have a history of substance and alcohol abuse, these can serve as primary considerations to a court when considering child custody issues.

For example, if there are allegations of domestic abuse in addition to substance abuse, a temporary order of protection, prohibiting one spouse from seeing children, is not uncommon. It is also common for a court to issue a temporary order prohibiting one spouse from drinking alcohol prior to or during visitation with minor children.

One spouse does not necessarily have to have legal trouble or a job loss for allegations of substance abuse to be taken seriously. If one spouse has been considering divorce for some time, there may be photos or audio that evidence substance abuse in the privacy of the home.

Alcohol testing may play a role

When allegations of abusing alcohol arise in divorce proceedings, alcohol testing may be beneficial. Devices familiar in criminal courts, such as alcohol detection monitors, may be used to ensure that one parent is not using alcohol or drugs during visitation times with children. If there is a criminal history or incidents involving the police, a court may require that person to refrain from using alcohol at all times in order to obtain visitation or joint custody.

What monitoring device is appropriate depends on the situation. Some devices can be worn on an ankle and detects whenever the person drinks alcohol. This is effective, but not always practical, as these ankle bracelets can be bulky and expensive.

A parent may instead use a portable breath test device, which checks for alcohol consumption at certain times and days of the week. This is a good method for when one parent must refrain from drinking before and during time spent with children, is less expensive than a “black box” on the ankle and more private.

Experienced representation needed

Allegations of substance abuse during divorce mean there is a lot at stake for both parties. For the alleging spouse, it means protecting children. For the spouse accused of substance abuse, it means having to protect family relationships and good name.

With so much at stake, it is vital to obtain the representation of experienced family law attorneys. The attorneys at Scott M. Brown & Associates are familiar with family law and custody matters in Texas and can advise you on the best steps to take to protect your family and help you to put your children in the best possible circumstances during and after divorce.

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