Do you know why there are divorce cases in hype? Early marriage, changing societal norms, financial independence, arguments, disagreements inequality, and so on. The most affected in such situations are the children who look up to both parents for their holistic growth.  

Child custody comes into the limelight when parents fail to have an amicable plan on custody and visitation rights. Who will look after the child’s welfare? Often both the parents want custody and win the case to satisfy their ego without considering the neutral point of view on the child’s welfare. 

Regarding “child welfare”, the Law Commission of India studied the problem of adopting a mutual parenting system in India. 

After studying parentage systems in divorced households globally and examining the current law in India, it prepared its report. . Then, the meeting of legal professionals, practitioners, and committee stakeholders structured the nature of mutual parenting in India and rolled out the report suggesting changes in the provisions of the law. 

Further, the commission suggested building the welfare standard in the Guardians and Wards Act of 1890 and emphasized its relevance in each aspect of responsibility and custody-based decision-making. 

For example, the Bombay High Court declared that the child’s welfare is primary.  

The Supreme Court announced that child welfare does not restrict to physical comfort or money, but “welfare” should be in terms of affection. 

However, the legal conditions come into personal laws per person’s religion like Hindu, Parsi, Christian, or Muslim in India. In such cases, the child’s interests and the rights of the parents are always in mind. 

It ranges from a child’s emotional and physical health to security and safety. But, one aspect can set hurdles—the substance abuse by either or both parents. 

Whether it is drug addiction, abuse of prescription medications, alcohol abuse, substance abuse is the main concern. 

When parents fail to agree to a legal child custody decision, the judge enters the public eye.  

Additionally, the court takes into account many factors to know the child’s interests, like the child’s health, age, and educational requirements with the proper home environment.

The Impact Of Substance Abuse On Child Custody Decisions In India

In India, there is no significant data on the number of custody cases of parental substance abuse. As per a study in the Indian Journal of Psychiatry, substance abuse is a general issue in India. About 14.6% of the population between 10-75 years report alcohol or drug usage. 

When substance abuse is a part of a custody case, the court will keep in mind many factors. The parent’s history of substance abuse, the effect of the substance abuse on the child, and the parent’s stability to provide a safe house for the child. Before the custody decision, the court will demand a parent to give a history of substance abuse to finish a rehabilitation program. 

Remember that custody decisions are based on each partner’s perspective. After all, the court is always in favor of the child.

Can A Recovering Alcoholic Obtain Custody Of Their Child?

It is justifiable that a court would deny a parent who is into alcohol or drugs to look after the child. But what is the decision of the court for a parent having a substance abuse history and under-recovery? Does alcohol rehab impact custody? 

When abusing alcohol or drugs can put you in danger of a parent’s probability for their child custody, some great efforts for recovery never go in vain. 

Courts comprehend that and it is in favour of a parent who knows their mistakes and does whatever it takes for their child. 

With substance abuse, it is vital to show facts that bear a parent’s recovery. Are they in recovery for a long time or new to the procedure? Have they gone through relapses in the past? What treatment did they receive?

How is their support system? Are they willing to acknowledge their actions? Will they be ready to do court-ordered alcohol examination or drug testing for child custody?

How To Justify Drug And Alcohol Use In Substance Abuse Cases?

Claims of drug or alcohol abuse by either parent in a custody case are usually as “she said/he said”. As courts disfavor substance abuse by a parent, they even object to making fake accusations in opposition to the other parent. 

To convince the court of the same, it is vital to build facts that support the claim. 

Courts consider the charge of substance abuse quite strictly. However, they are hesitant to bind a child’s bond with a substance abuse parent without any evidence. 

Suppose any parent is stressing about the child’s safety with the other parent. In that case, they must give the proper particular facts like the proof that the other parent was careless with the child in the car or ignored the child while taking substances. 

Many custody and divorce cases are solved out of court, but when it comes to issues with alcohol or drug abuse should be fought. 

In several cases having accusations of a parent abusing alcohol or drugs, the court will demand a forensic child custody assessment to avail a crystal clear idea of the facts. 

Therefore, it is important to have a legal consultation with an expert like Divorcebylaw who handles these cases and are well-versed litigators.

Do Children Of Addicts Turn Into Addicts Too?

As per the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the threat of addiction arises for those parents who are drug or alcohol addicts.


Children of addicts are 45-79% likely to take up alcohol or abuse drugs in comparison to the population. Drug and alcohol-addicted babies are addicted to a substance in case the mother used a substance during pregnancy. 

How Do Grandparents And Family Members Impact Child Custody Decisions In India?

In India, extended family members and grandparents have a major role in child custody cases. As per a National Sample Survey Organization study, about 23.5% of children who stayed with their grandparents had no parental care in 2017-18.

 Extended family members and grandparents can give care and support for the child and the court would regard their input. 

Based on the particular case and the judge’s diplomacy, the impact of extended family members and grandparents on child custody decisions can differ. Ultimately, the court will decide according to the child’s needs. 

Cases Of Child Custody:

  1. The respondent(mother) and petitioner’s(father) marital life was not in a good state. The petitioner was an alcohol addict, and that evoked problems in the life of the respondent and petitioner. 

The petitioner confessed that he was an alcohol addict but recovered after his treatment in T.T.K. Hospital, Madras. 

Hence, the petitioner asserts that he, as a father, is subject to the son’s guardianship. The respondent argues that the petitioner was not sober and was admitted to T.T.K hospital. He was jobless and was not capable of taking care of the child. Thus, child welfare will not be proper in the hands of the petitioner. 

As per the High Court of Madras’ decision of June 1999, the minor son is studying in the mother’s custody. His mother is earning, and it is clear from the proof that the minor son is doing wonders in his studies. 

Considering the education, welfare, and upbringing, the son’s custody will be with the respondent, his mother.

  1. Another case was held at J v R, High Court of Punjab v Haryana having Judge Hon’ble Justice Archanapuri. The father was found to rely on the chemicals. Also, his treatment is partially complete, and no reason was there to give custody to the father. Nevertheless, such observations did not make the father a wrong person, and no verdict exists for his reliance on chemicals.

 Judge stated that “A parent might be wrong as per society, but not for the child.” Hence the father was given visitation rights to his daughter.  

Furthermore, the custody of the girl child is given to the mother, who is a doctor. Based on her conclusions, she is independent and can secure the minor child. 

Moreover, the girl child can meet his father twice every month.

The Bottom Line

The impact of substance abuse on child custody cases in India is quite stretched. It keeps the child’s welfare in danger and creates ethical and legal issues. 

Based on the evidence of court cases, substance abuse is a crucial aspect in knowing custody arrangements directing to legal problems. 

Many parents neglect the significance of divorce lawyer child custody. These battles are tough, legally and emotionally. 

But, you must have a word with a child custody lawyer for your child’s safety because of your partner’s drug or drinking abuse. 

Then, only you can get a healthy environment for the child, and their happiness is the top priority. 

Lawyers for child custody from Divorcebylaw can discuss how the law is applicable in your state. We can aid you in collecting the proof you require to safeguard your children and parental rights.  

On top of that, we focus on the comfort of the child in every custody case. Our company has a team of the best lawyers for child custody who are knowledgeable in the complexities of child custody law. Reach us now.

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