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Alcohol monitoring systems can increase holiday visitation time

If your spouse's alcohol abuse was an issue in your divorce and child custody negotiations, you may have concerns about your kids spending time with your co-parent over the holidays. Even if your ex has entered a recovery program and appears to have gotten control of their problem, the holidays can be a difficult time for those who have struggled — or continue to struggle — with alcohol.

The holidays can be an emotional and even depressing time for many people — particularly for parents who don't get to spend as much time as they'd like with their kids. Relapses occur all too frequently this time of year. That can be a frightening prospect both for the parent who's afraid to trust their kids with the ex even for visits over their winter break and the parent who's working to stay sober.

One option chosen by many parents in this situation is an alcohol monitoring system. Soberlink is a popular one. Bactrack is another brand.

These systems involve a tool similar to a Breathalyzer. However, the real-time results can be monitored remotely by whomever is selected to do so. There are safeguards such as video cameras to ensure that the person being monitored is the one using the tool.

These systems can allow parents to have unsupervised visits with their kids and provide peace of mind to the other parent. Tests can be done on whatever schedule is agreed upon or ordered.

These alcohol monitoring systems are often used on an ongoing basis and included in a couple's parenting time arrangement. However, they can also be used on a temporary basis, such as when kids might be spending extended periods with a parent. Parents who use one of these systems should also have a plan for someone to pick up the children if a test result shows alcohol consumption.

It's understandable that a parent may resent being asked — let alone required — to have their blood alcohol content monitored. However, if it can help them get more time with their kids, it can be a strong incentive to refrain from drinking.

If you're considering an alcohol monitoring system for your co-parent or if you've been asked to use one, find out more about them. Your Arizona family law attorney can provide more information and help you determine what is best for you and your children.

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