Custody and Alcohol Use

In North Carolina, judges are tasked with determining what visitation schedule is in the best interest of the minor child.  For some families, this determination can be met with obstacles such as illicit drug use, domestic violence or alcoholism.  For instances of illicit drug use, judges can order hair follicle drug testing to monitor continuous use, and for domestic violence, there may be anger management classes that will assist in determining whether the child is safe in the care of the abuser.  However, for instances of alcohol abuse, there may be fewer signs of the disease, making it hard for a judge to identify a problem.

To assist judges in identifying alcohol abuse in child custody cases, North Carolina General Statute 50-13.2(b2) sets forth that as a condition of such custody or visitation, a court may require a party to abstain from consuming alcohol and to submit to a continuous alcohol monitoring system.  An order to submit to an alcohol monitoring system shall include an order that the monitoring provider report any violation of the order to the court and to each party.

Generally, a judge may order a temporary alcohol monitoring system to be put into place for a period of three to six months to assist them in determining whether alcohol abuse exists.  If a person is abusing alcohol during this period, a Judge will be better equipped to determine what visitation schedule is in the best interest of the minor child, by knowing whether a problem exists or if a parent has reached out to other sources for help in overcoming their addiction.




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