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If I go to rehab, will I lose custody of my kids?

There are many Atlanta residents struggling mightily with addictions. Whether it's an addiction to opiates, methamphetamine, alcohol or other substances, if you're a parent of minor children, your substance abuse is a major impediment to good parenting.

Entering rehab is scary. Not only will you be forced to learn how to cope without your crutch-of-choice, you will also have to let down the defenses you've spent a lifetime building.

But if you have kids at home, you also face another hurdle — arranging for their care and custody while you get well. You might be fearful of revealing your rehab plans because you might lose custody of your kids. Alternatively, that may already have occurred, and you wonder if you'll be able to get them back.

If you're an addict not currently in recovery, the chances are slim to none that those closest to you don't already realize that you have a serious drug or alcohol problem. They will be overjoyed that you finally decided to seek help.

But it is entirely possible your children's other parent or another family member could step in, and gain custody while you do the necessary work to get well. Fortunately, that does not necessarily mean that it will be permanent.

The Atlanta family law courts are committed to keeping families together, and that includes allowing recovering addicts to have access to their kids. If your commitment to sobriety is sincere, it's possible that you will one day regain custody of your children.

Keep in mind that the primary goal of the family courts and also the Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS) is "the health, safety, and welfare of children." In most cases, that means that parents have access to their kids as long as their actions do not pose harm to the children.

You and your family law attorney can work together to devise a plan to work toward reunification once you've completed rehab and regained control of your life.

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