Contact and Alcohol Abuse
District Judge Peter Glover, who sits in Dartford, has written an excellent review of the impact of breath test devices on contact in family cases – Law Society Gazette 8 September 2014 (www.lawgazette.co.uk).
There is nothing wrong with a parent drinking, and that will not stop him or her seeing the child, but if he is unable to care adequately because of alcohol problems contact is likely to be denied.
This problem is not just restricted to fathers. Experience shows that many mothers suffer from alcohol and drug abuse.
One tool in the armoury is to seek a direction that the parent seeking contact buys a breath testing device and notebook and that proper readings are taken and recorded.
If for example the father turns up and fails a breath test, contact can be denied not through spite, but for the Judge’s Order.
Another sample can be taken at the end of contact and if that discloses alcohol the next contact visit can be cancelled and so on.
The Family Courts are not stuffy. They are flexible and imaginative and with the right evidence of failure of a breath test, can suspend contact immediately and the police will side with the person obtaining such an Order.
Expert legal advice should be taken at an early stage.
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