Eight common legal challenges people with addiction face: #2) Domestic violence

One of the first clear signs that someone you care about is suffering from addiction is when that loved one begins experiencing legal problems as a result of his or her drinking or drug use. Some of the most common legal challenges that people with addiction face may include:

  1. Divorce and/or custody challenges
  2. Domestic violence
  3. Fighting and public intoxication
  4. Operating while intoxicated (OWI) or driving under the influence (DUI)
  5. Prescription fraud
  6. Prostitution
  7. Public intoxication
  8. Theft

2) Domestic Violence: Research shows that substance abuse is strongly linked to domestic violence. People suffering from addiction are found to become violent more frequently, and inflict more severe injuries on others around them.

Research shows that women who abuse drugs or alcohol are more likely to be the victims of abuse, and children also suffer from these issues at home. A survey by the National Committee to Prevent Child Abuse shows that up to 80 percent of reported child abuse cases are associated with alcohol and/or drug abuse.

If you are someone outside of the home that wishes to help a spouse or child that might be suffering from a home environment with addiction challenges, you may be able to take temporary legal guardianship of the child or children to remove them from harm. This can buy a parent time to seek out meaningful treatment and enter into recovery, creating a much safer home environment for everyone involved.

A legal guardian is someone other than the legal parent who takes care of a child, typically providing needs such as shelter and food, and making decisions about education and medical care. Guardians also usually manage the finances of the child.

In Indiana, a temporary guardianship establishes someone as a child’s guardian for a specific and outlined reason, and only for a specified length of time. Some common reasons that temporary guardianship of a child may be established include:

  • Physical absence: A temporary guardian may be appropriate if a parent will be physically unavailable to care for the child for a short period of time. This could be appropriate for situations like a long hospital stay, or a brief period of incarceration.
  • Health challenges: A temporary guardian may be appropriate if a parent temporarily cannot adequately care for the child due to a severe decline in physical, mental, emotional or economic health.
  • Emergency: A temporary guardian may be appropriate in emergency situations when a parent does not have the time required to name a long-term guardian. If something drastic happens to the parent(s) and the child needs someone to take care of them in the interim of finding a long-term solution, this option may be best.

In Indiana, temporary guardianship is concluded when the specified reason that the temporary guardianship was established ends. For example, once a parent completes an outlined addiction treatment plan, or once a period of incarceration is done.

If you know of a child who is suffering from being in the home of a parent with substance abuse problems, reach out to a family law attorney to discuss the options for the family. They should be able to guide you to what is in the best interest of the child, and the family as a whole.

This article was written and submitted by Henn Haworth Cummings + Page Law. This is a general practice law firm that offers family law services in Central Indiana. See www.hhcfirm.com for more details or call their office at 317-885-0041 for a no charge case assessment.