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I am often asked by clients what to do if they are concerned their ex partner’s alcohol consumption is affecting their parenting and their ability to appropriately care for their children.

Does this mean that a parent cannot enjoy a couple of drinks at a family event?

Alcohol affects each person differently and so it is very important to be aware of how alcohol affects you personally. It is also important to remember that when parents separate they will often be in a position where they are solely responsible for the children and so there may not be another appropriate adult present should a child require attention, or if an emergency were to occur.

As a parent, you must always be alert when looking after your child. Drinking alcohol slows down your reaction times and can potentially put your child at risk of harm. It is important that, as a parent, you are always in control and able to care for and put your children’s safety first. Parental alcohol misuse can have profound effects on young children and this growing issue is also a concern with the Court.
If you are concerned your ex partner is drinking too much whilst caring for the children it is important these issues are addressed to ensure appropriate safeguarding is in place. This could be, for example, ensuring that a suitable adult supervises contact or not permitting any overnight contact for a period of time.
If safeguarding arrangements cannot be agreed with your ex partner, it may be necessary to have the Court determine contact arrangements. The Court can direct medical testing to determine concerns regarding alcohol and thereafter put appropriate safeguarding measures in place. This does not necessarily mean preventing the children from seeing the other parent, as this can also be emotionally damaging for them, but to ensure their safety and wellbeing at all times.
You may find this sensitive subject difficult to bring up to your partner, however it is extremely important, if you have a genuine welfare concern, that you take action and seek legal advice to ensure your children’s emotional and physically safety at all times.
Carla Fraser offers advice and support on all issues relating to contact and aims to take a practical approach in the best interest of both parents and, most importantly of all, the children.

If you would like more information or any advice on this subject or any parenting through separation issue, please do not hesitate to contact Carla in Edwards & Co. Solicitors carla.fraser@edwardsandcompany.co.uk or 02890321863

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