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Barber Law

How can you ensure your co-parent's sobriety over the holidays?

If you have a co-parent who's in recovery and seems to have put their problems with alcohol behind them, you likely have begun to trust that your kids are safe with them. However, with the holiday season fast approaching, you may have renewed concerns about unsupervised visits.

The holidays can be difficult for people in recovery. It's not just that every social event seems to involve alcohol, and liquor is featured prominently and glamorously in television and print ads. When people are lonely and depressed, as many divorced parents are during the holidays, the chance of relapse is very real.

You want your kids to spend time with their other parent during the holidays -- and they want to as well. However, you're concerned that your ex may begin drinking again and place your children at risk. Even if other family members are with them, what if they get distracted and don't notice that your co-parent is drinking?

In some child custody cases involving a parent who has or had a drinking problem, an alcohol monitoring system is used to help ensure that parent's sobriety. These often involve a tool like a Breathalyzer that the parent is required to use on a specified schedule.

These systems provide peace of mind to the co-parent that their children are safe and eliminate or minimize the need for supervised visitation. They also require the parent submitting to the testing to be accountable. That can be crucial for a recovering alcoholic. The temptation to drink may be overwhelming over the holidays -- particularly if they're alone and missing their children. Knowing that they can't have alcohol in their system if they want to see them can be a strong incentive for saying no to a drink and going to a 12-step meeting or calling their sponsor or therapist instead.

If you're considering asking the court to require your co-parent to use an alcohol monitoring system, whether just for the holidays or for a more extended period, talk to your Kentucky family law attorney. You may be not only protecting your children, but helping your co-parent stay sober.

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