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An alcohol monitoring system can get you more access to your kids

You used to have a problem with alcohol. It was one of the things that led to your divorce. Now you've been sober for awhile. However, your co-parent wants conditions placed on your ability to see your kids -- including use of an alcohol monitoring system to prove that you don't have alcohol in your system around your visitation times. Maybe they're asking that you submit to regular testing, whether you have the kids or not, to show that you're no longer drinking to have visitation or shared custody rights.

It's normal to feel some anger at such a condition -- even if you haven't touched alcohol in months and never plan to again. How dare your co-parent attempt to "monitor" you when you aren't even together anymore? However, before you reject alcohol monitoring, consider the advantages.

You can provide objective evidence to the court and social service professionals that you are no longer drinking - or, at least, that you can abstain from drinking while caring for your children. Your co-parent can make all the accusations they want, but your test results will demonstrate your commitment to sobriety.

You can help your co-parent regain trust in you. You may not remember all the times that your drinking interfered with your ability to parent. Your co-parent may not be trying to punish or control you. They may be genuinely concerned for the well-being of your kids. An alcohol monitoring system can provide needed reassurance.

An alcohol monitoring system will help you remain sober. Everyone experiences challenges to their sobriety. Taking on single parenthood -- even in small doses -- can certainly be one of them. Knowing that you have to prove your sobriety can sometimes be the only thing that prevents you from drinking.

Finally, if your kids are old enough to understand that you had a problem and are dealing with it, they may appreciate the fact that you're willing to do this so that you can have -- and possibly rebuild -- a relationship with them. Even if they're too young to be aware of this, they'll be able to see the difference in you.

If your co-parent is seeking alcohol monitoring as a condition of child custody or visitation, talk it over with your attorney so that you can better understand how it works and how it can benefit you and your kids.

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  1. Charles W. Dobbins, Jr.

    Charles earned his J.D. degree from the University of Virginia in 1974

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