In every Family Law case in Colorado (whether it is a Divorce case with children, or a Paternity/Allocation of Parental Responsibilities case), a Parenting Plan will ultimately be put in place to govern all issues regarding children, including, but not limited to decision making, parenting time and financial matters. The Parenting Plan will either be established by agreement of the parties (with Court Approval) or per a Trial and by Order of the Court.
In this day and age, it is no surprise that addiction and alcoholism are prevalent issues in a large number of our family law cases. While we certainly recognize that addiction is a disease and we are supportive of medical treatment for the party with the issue, our primary focus is to protect the bests interest of the children involved in the case. We accomplish this through addressing the issue with pertinent provisions in the Parenting Plan.
The primary mechanism we utilize is monitored sobriety through the appropriate testing mechanism pertinent to the specific facts in any given case. The first question we need to answer is which drugs are involved per the specific facts of the case. Different types of tests link to different drugs, and pricing varies for these tests. If alcohol is the only issue (not to minimize it), we can utilize a breathalyzer treatment which is considerably less inexpensive than multi-layered tests. Also, mobile tests now monitor alcohol, which certainly simplifies the process and notification procedure. Some breathalyzer tests are as cheap as $2.00 per test. One example of a mobile testing process can be found at www.soberlink.com. If there are different drugs involved, a multitude of tests at different levels and pricing can be used – ranging from $15..00 per test to $45.00 per test.
Beyond the monitored sobriety testing requirement, we can also include provisions in the Parenting Plan such as medical treatment and therapy for the party, regular 12 step meeting attendance for the party and potential therapy for the children. We will also include some phase-in parenting time – in other words, as the party stays sober and continues to prove their sobriety, their parenting time and involvement will increase.
Every case is sensitive and has different components involved, and we are very cognizant of that as we craft the specific Parenting Plan for that case. We want to set the afflicted party up for success, while also protecting the best interest of the children.
If you are faced with this dilemma, please contact the Domestic Team at Feldmann Nagel Margulis and/or for all of your Family Law needs.