So, what if you have a history of substance abuse and you have addressed it, and you’re clean now but you weren’t before? What do you do with that? My name is Brian L. Jackson, I’m a Tulsa father’s rights lawyer here with Dads.Law where fathers are not disposable, and I want to talk to you guys about the issue of a prior history of substance abuse.
And you’re clean now, and now you’re looking down the barrel of a divorce or paternity proceeding or a motion to modify, some kind of a child custody proceeding, and your ex wants to make an issue of your prior history of substance abuse. Or maybe they haven’t made an issue of it yet, but you know it’s out there and it’s liable to come out.
Addressing the Issue of Substance Abuse History
How do you address this? Well, I mean, obviously it’s going to be very, very fact-specific as far as what any individual should do. However, as a general rule, the important thing is to be able to show the court that you have moved past that. In other words, you got treatment and you are clean, and you can show you’re clean.
That may mean you take a drug test and show in like a hair follicle or a nail bed to show you’re not doing that anymore. It may mean that you show compliance certificates for a treatment program or a 12-step program. It may mean that, you know, you have to come in there and come clean and say, Judge, yeah, that was a problem for me. I know I screwed up and this is what I did about it.
Gathering Evidence of Recovery
The bottom line is you want the judge to understand and you want to be able to prove it that whatever it was you were doing in the past is not a problem for you now. And that if you are still in treatment, you’re compliant with treatment. So you want to pull all those records together ahead of time and have them ready to go in the event that you have to address that issue.
And obviously, when you are getting with your lawyer on this, which you definitely want to get good counsel on that situation, you want to be upfront and straightforward with them about your past. Yeah, I did that. That was a problem. And you want to make sure you can tell them this is what I’ve been doing about it and show them evidence.
The Importance of Concrete Evidence
Like it’s not enough that, and this sounds horrible to say this, your word is not enough. The attitude that a lot of folks have towards people with a history of substance abuse is that they’re chronic liars. Now that may not necessarily be true of you and it is not meant to be offensive, but that tends to be the view of people that are addicts or alcoholic, is that they’re chronic liars.
So your word is not good enough. It’s usually a good idea to have concrete evidence that you did something, whether it’s role sheets for a treatment program, whether it’s your medical records, whether it’s a clean drug test, whatever you can produce that shows that you’re not doing that anymore. You need to have that ready to go and you need to have that in the hands of your lawyer.
Seeking Professional and Compassionate Counsel
And if they advise you to do anything else, like go back to a treatment program, take a drug test, whatever, whatever, do it. Because again, it’s really, really important that you can demonstrate to the court that whatever problem you had in the past is not a problem now.
And it goes without saying, you do want good counsel and one place you can find good Oklahoma child custody attorney is at Dads.Law where fathers are not disposable.