Can I Test my Spouse for Alcohol after We Get Divorced?

Addiction is a very real problem in Utah.

So many people are addicted to alcohol and drugs, and those addictions lead to a good many Utah divorces.

The problem of alcoholism is especially bad when you have kids.

We can’t have kids exposed to alcoholism unless we want to endanger them and vastly increase the likelihood they’ll become alcoholics.

So, what can you do if you have kids and your soon-to-be ex is addicted to alcohol?

You have a few options:

  1. Do nothing.

Not okay. These are your kids we’re talking about. Don’t put them in danger. Take a stand.

  1. Help your soon-to-be ex get treatment.

Even if you’re divorced, your ex is still your kids’ parent, and they love him/her. It makes sense to do everything you can (within reason) to help your ex get the treatment needed. It will benefit your kids in the long run.

  1. Test your ex for alcohol if you think he or she is using around the kids.

If you have a serious concern about your ex drinking and getting drunk around the kids, especially if there is a history of doing this, then alcohol testing may be in order.

Let’s talk about how testing your ex may work.

How Does Testing Your Ex for Alcohol Work?

Putting together a alcohol-testing scheme depends on a lot of factors and has to be individualized to your specific situation.

That said, here are some common elements we use when we put together alcohol-testing schemes:

  1. You can request an alcohol test if you have good reason to believe your ex is high right now.

For example, if your ex comes to your house to pick up your child for parent-time and you know he or she is drunk, you should be able to end that parent-time and request an immediate alcohol test.

  1. You can request random alcohol tests.

We all know addicts hide their addictions, so they might be smart enough not to be high when they’re in public. In private is another matter.

Because of this, we sometimes allow our clients to randomly test their ex. This usually happens when the ex has a history of drug problems, but it can take place when there is a history of alcohol abuse, depending on severity, etc. You can’t do this too often (usually once every 2–3 months), but random tests are a powerful way to make sure people are staying clean.

  1. All alcohol tests need to be taken within a certain number of hours.

We put a time limit on alcohol tests because alcohol metabolizes so quickly and is out of the system.

To avoid abuses, we state that any test not taken within a certain number of hours (e.g., three) of requesting the test will be considered dirty (i.e., positive for alcohol).

Last Thing: Remember, Testing Your Ex for Alcohol Is about Keeping Kids Safe, not Being Vindictive

I’ve seen many a spouse use alcohol testing as an excuse to be vindictive toward their ex.

Don’t do this. It will only hurt your kids.

If you have a legitimate concern that your ex’s alcoholism will harm your kids, then ask for alcohol testing, but use that to keep your kids safe, not as a way to get back at your ex.

Call Brown Family Law

If you find yourself facing a divorce, please call 801.685.9999 for a legal in-person consultation, or use our online scheduling tool.

Published On: January 19th, 2018Categories: Child CustodyComments Off on Can I Test my Spouse for Alcohol after We Get Divorced?
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About the Author: Marco Brown
Marco C. Brown was named Utah’s Outstanding Family Law Lawyer of the Year in 2015. He graduated with distinction from the University of Nebraska College of Law in 2007 and is currently the managing partner of Brown Family Law, LLC.
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