Julia Weber, JD, MSW, has spent her career developing approaches to solving problems for parents and coParents alike. In light of October as Domestic Violence Awareness month, Weber has advice for those persons coParenting with an addict, especially those concerned for their child’s safety.
“If you are concerned that your children are spending time alone with the other parent when that parent is abusing illegal drugs, alcohol, prescription medication, or other substances, contact an attorney or other local organizations that help people struggling with drug addiction,” Weber said.
“Sometimes it makes sense for children to spend time with that parent in a supervised setting, at a specific public location, or with other family members or friends who can help make sure the child or children will be safe,” Weber added. “In some instances, the child and parent may have to take a break and contact may just be by phone or video until that parent can be safe with the child.
“Parenting plans, court orders, and negotiated agreements can help put rules in place that prohibit drug or alcohol use when children are present,” Weber concluded. “However, if the parent is an addict, the issue of the child’s safety must be the focus and contact may need to be more limited.”
There is good information on parenting plans at http://www.courts.ca.gov/16432.htm.