In Everett (Snohomish County) as elsewhere in Washington, alcoholism often becomes the central focus of divorce custody battles. Statutory law provides that addictions should be among the highest concerns when allocating a child’s residential time, meaning even stay-at-home mothers can lose child custody due to their alcohol abuse. The reason is practical: drunk parents present a serious peril to their own children—physically, emotionally, and as destructive examples.
Given alcoholism’s gravity, divorce custody litigation frequently hinges upon proving or disproving the existence and extent of the alleged alcoholic’s problem. More often than not, parties counter allegations of alcohol abuse with vigorous denials and accusations of their own. Getting appropriate evidence before the court becomes crucial in these situations, whether proving the truth or rebutting the other side’s misrepresentations.
Local courts usually order urinalysis (UA) testing to determine whether someone with a purported addiction can abstain from drinking. UAs cost less than other forms of testing, and the science behind them has been in use long enough to become trusted from the court’s perspective.
Unfortunately UAs also come with a number of drawbacks. Ordinarily UA tests only indicate whether the subject ingested alcohol in the previous day, perhaps two. That small testing window makes a single UA nearly worthless unless the result comes back positive; a negative result simply means the alleged alcoholic was able to stay sober for a single day. Even the worst drunks can stay dry that long if they suspect they might be tested. Courts regularly overcome this testing deficiency by ordering several months of random weekly UAs. But a long period of random UA testing can become cost prohibitive, the alleged alcoholic often cannot see his or her child(ren) until completing the months-long testing regimen, and some alcoholics nonetheless manage to beat the testing by, for example, temporarily substituting a different addiction for alcohol.
Often other ways of proving or disprove alcoholism more closely match a given case’s parameters. Some of those forms of proof—such as hair tests, bank transaction analysis, law enforcement records, and private investigation reports—may work well, but must be presented correctly to the court.
At Genesis, we understand these issues better than many of our competitors in the Everett area, because we performed the necessary research. We also enjoy some of the strongest credentials and best hourly rates in our region. If you want quality, affordable divorce counsel for your divorce custody dispute, we encourage you to give us a call.