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How Alcohol and Drug Abuse Affects Parenting Time Decisions Under Arizona Law

Under Arizona law, alcohol and substance use can affect parenting time if it is determined that the use of alcohol or an illicit substance might endanger the child’s physical or emotional health. Under statute, Arizona courts are required to consider a parent’s history of substance abuse when determining parenting time. See A.R.S. § 25-403.03. If a court finds that a parent’s alcohol or drug abuse poses a significant danger to the child, the court may restrict or limit the parent’s parenting time. See id. Moreover, if the court determines that parent has abused drugs or alcohol, or has been convicted of any drug offense, within twelve months prior to the start of the case, there is a rebuttable presumption that joint legal decision-making is not in the best interests of the minor child. See A.R.S. § 25-403.04. 


Under certain circumstances, a court may order drug or alcohol testing as a condition of parenting time. See Ariz. R. Fam. L. Pro. 95(c). If a parent fails a drug or alcohol test, the court may restrict or limit parenting time until the parent can demonstrate that they are able to provide a safe and stable environment for the child. A court may also order that a parent refrain from using drugs or alcohol during parenting time, with serious consequences to their case if that parent violates the court’s orders. Additionally, an Arizona court may require a parent who has substance or alcohol abuse problem to attend parenting and rehabilitation classes. See Ariz. R. Fam. L. Pro. 95(d). Ultimately, the court’s decision(s) regarding parenting time will be based on the best interests of the child.


Parenting time and legal decision-making cases can be very complex and time consuming. Having a competent and thorough family law attorney can help make the best arguments for favorable outcome. If you are considering initiating or are involved in a court action regarding parenting time or legal decision-making, and need the guidance of an experienced and compassionate law firm, do not hesitate to contact Huffman-Shayeb Law, PLLC to set up a consultation and discuss your options.


Disclaimer: This publication is for educational and informational purposes only, and represents Huffman-Shayeb Law, PLLC’s understanding of the present state of Arizona law only. This publication does not constitute legal advice or counsel, and should not be construed as a comment on the merits of any particular case. It should be noted that the laws and requirements of the State of Arizona may change at any time and that this information may not be complete or correct.