Family Law

Family Law

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Alcohol Abuse in Ontario Family Law Cases

Alcohol abuse, whether admitted or denied, creates a challenging set of problems in custody/access and child welfare cases. The root of these problems lies in the quality of information available to answer questions such as:

  • How much does this parent really drink?
  • How can we verify that this parent is not drinking when the kids are with him/her?
  • How can I prove that I am not drinking too much?

Until recently, the available sources of information for answering these questions– self-reports, community reports, hair follicle testing, urine testing, blood testing – have been unsatisfactory to one or both sides in terms of their thoroughness, reliability, and/or timeliness. The result of the available information being unsatisfactory leads to more restrictive measures being perceived as necessary to address the risks to children created by parental alcohol abuse – measures such as reducing the children’s time with a parent, requiring that time to be supervised, or removing children from the parent’s care.

What if a parent could be tested for alcohol multiple times per day, the results were available quickly, and an objective third party reported the results to the other parent or child welfare agency? That’s exactly what our programs offer.

We Work With You

Our staff are knowledgeable family law professionals who can help parties decide which technology to use, how long to use it for, and how to construct reporting protocols that address each party’s concerns.

We work with lawyers, courts, and agencies to help them use alcohol monitoring technologies in ways that make the most sense for meeting the needs of individual cases and for establishing agency or court-based programs.

Examples of outcomes we have helped families and agencies achieve are:

  • Children not apprehended
  • Overnight access reinstated
  • Access changed from supervised to unsupervised
  • A father who had been required to leave the home after an incident of domestic violence was permitted to resume living with the family
  • Alcohol abuse eliminated as an issue of concern, allowing clinical work and litigation to focus on other issues
  • Alcohol abuse confirmed as a concern and the parent agreed to attend treatment
  • A mother was able to resume breastfeeding
  • After the child welfare agency agreed that monitoring was no longer required, the parent requested resumption of monitoring to assist her with relapse prevention.
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