By: Leslie Barrows
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Court Orders and Modifications: Parents Drinking at Home
Alarming Alcohol Statistics and Parents Drinking at Home During Coronavirus
Drinking and drug use and abuse rates are alarming during the COVID-19 Coronavirus situation. Many people knew there would be an increase in alcohol consumption, but few may have realized how many problems would arise out of parents being stuck at home and kids being seemingly forever out of school. As we started learning to use Zoom for professional meetings, a few people started hosting Zoom happy hours with friends to keep in touch and be social. The problems start when the normal rules for social behavior are out the window. When the Zoom happy hours start earlier and people start finding day drinking acceptable, “during these times,” the best interests of children are at greater risk.
In a recent article by the Green Valley Recovery Center in California, the CDC reports alcohol sales have increased by more than 55 percent since quarantines began, as of the third week in March. Here in Texas, the Texas Alcohol Beverage Commission (TABC) reported significant increases in the sale of alcohol in Texas, as many stocked up at liquor stores, fearing a run on beverage supplies, despite liquor stores being deemed essential and remaining open during statewide and local shutdowns.
Got Questions About Your Divorce Decree, Co-Parenting, and Drinking or Drug Use and Abuse? Call the Barrows Firm in Southlake and Learn Your Rights and Options to Keep Your Children Safe. (817) 481-1583. Read the Barrows Firm Article: Court-Ordered Alcohol Testing: Soberlink and EtG Testing
While Texas is Slowly Reopening, Many Concerns Remain About Alcohol Use and Abuse
People are habitual. Habits are easy to make and easy to break. Many of us are now in the habit of ordering food and alcohol to go. Here in Texas, we can also have alcohol delivered right to our front door, which many argue is a great convenience that reduces drinking and driving. In a recent article, it appears alcohol to go sales may continue in Texas. While some praise the idea of delivery food and booze, others are concerned about an increase in excessive drinking at home.
Addiction and recovery professionals and therapists are rightfully concerned about alcohol abuse. It sneaks up on you, many will say, and what starts as an increase in drinking can easily slide into abuse and addiction. Many parents might joke about drinking more and enjoying their Zoom happy hours while the kids pretend to be studying and doing their online schoolwork, but just because everyone else is doing it, does not mean you should.
Imagine you are the primary parent and not only see on social media, but also hear from your children that when they are at the other parent’s house they see more alcohol in the refrigerator, more empties in the trash, and unfortunately the other parent being drunk or hungover during their parenting time.
Co-Parents Do not Buy the COVID-19 Coronavirus “Everyone Else is Drinking Excuse”
Without pressuring the kids to talk, many are quick to share or let the other parent know that something is going on with increased alcohol or drug abuse. People who may think they are getting away with it are dead wrong when kids are involved. Children do not think their parents are funnier when they are drunk. Kids do not feel safe when a parent abuses alcohol. Judges and opposing counsels are neither impressed by increased drinking because it is inconvenient to be shut down and ordered to stay at home.
People Ask for Scram and Soberlink Devices and Courts Will Order Them
While we all are likely worn out by the phrase, “during this time,” you can be certain that judges are ready willing and able to order parents to use Scram and Soberlink alcohol monitoring devices during this time while co-parenting and the best interests of the children are challenged by inappropriate and excessive drinking. Attorney Leslie Barrows has asked for court-ordered alcohol monitoring devices and she knows they work to keep people honest!
Scram systems offer remote devices that track and report alcohol use and monitoring. They offer products ranging from ankle monitors to hand-held breathalyzer systems. The technology used in court-ordered alcohol monitoring is effective compared to other methods used by courts in the past, including random ordered drug testing.
Soberlink is another effective professional alcohol monitoring system, not only for addiction recovery but also for family law. The Soberlink includes a hand-held breathalyzer, tamper detection, and facial recognition technology that instantly reports the test results to whomever you have set to receive immediate Soberlink data reports. There are all-in-one cellular Soberlink devices as well as a Soberlink device that connects to a smartphone for data transmission.
Do You Need a Modification Because the Other Parent is Drinking at Home with the Children?
A modification case is required to change and update what is already ordered in a divorce decree. There are several reasons for modifications, including a problem in co-parenting, such as increased drinking and drug use and abuse. Anything that places the safety and best interests of the children at risk may be grounds for filing a modification lawsuit.
In a recent Barrows Firm podcast, Leslie Barrows talks about modification cases and what you can expect. Please feel free to listen – Episode 6: What Does a Modification Case Look Like in Texas.