Kardashian breakup raises child custody questions

North Carolina celebrity watchers may already be aware of the breakup between Kourtney Kardashian and Scott Disick, who had three children together. There has been speculation regarding the likelihood of a custody battle between the two, as well as regarding the potential impact of Disick’s rumored substance abuse on the outcome of any such case.

Family law courts will consider evidence of substance abuse in determining parenting arrangements, but a history of substance abuse is not necessarily a bar even to physical custody. Indeed, most courts presume that spending time with both parents is in the best interests of the child, and they prefer arrangements that may maintain or strengthen parent-child relationships.

A judge may order supervised visitation or mandatory drug testing in cases where a parent has a history of substance abuse. Courts may issue similar orders in cases where a parent has a history of criminal behavior, spousal abuse or mental illness. The judge has the power to structure custody and visitation in a way that protects and promotes the best interests of the child and may consider any factor from employment history to whether one parent is likely to speak ill of the other in front of the kids.

Child custody decisions are heavily fact-dependent and may vary widely from case to case, but a parent’s history will very rarely be a bar to contact. An attorney with experience in family law may be able to review the facts of a particular case and help a parent anticipate and prepare for a custody argument. An attorney may be able to negotiate a child custody arrangement agreeable to all parties or develop a strategy and argue on behalf of a parent during family court proceedings.