The government has recently announced a plan to invest £6 million to offer support services to children of alcoholic parents.

There are estimated 200,000 children in England living with alcoholic parents. It is reported that the NSPCC receives one call every hour from children about drug or alcohol abuse.

The impact upon children of living with an alcoholic parent cannot be underestimated.  There is research that suggests children of alcoholic parents are more likely to have problems at school, consider suicide and develop eating disorders. Children living with alcohol dependent parents can feel isolated and alone and believe they have no one they can talk to who will understand what they are going through. The emotional strain and pressure on a child dealing with these issues can have a lasting impact, which can affect a child even once they have become adult.

If you are dealing with these types of issues in your family, the planned government programme should offer you and your children rapid access to support and advice, as well as support for parents going through addiction treatment. Funding will also be invested to identify and support children living with alcohol abuse, and early intervention in an attempt to reduce the number of children going into care.

Meanwhile, there are currently a number of organisations that can offer support and advice, such as Drinkline (www.drinkaware.co.uk) and Al-Anon (www.al-anon.alateen.org).

At Myerson, our family law solicitors have links with local therapists and counsellors with whom we can put you in touch for support if you are suffering from alcohol dependency or other addiction issues, or if you and your children are affected by addiction issues in your family.

When it comes to child arrangements, the court will always make a decision that it considers is in the best interest of the children, and the children’s welfare will be the court’s paramount consideration. The fact that a parent has suffered or is suffering from addiction issues is not an absolute bar to contact, but the court will make a decision based upon what it thinks is best for the children, and will have regard in particular to the wishes and feelings of the children, any harm which the children have suffered or are at risk of suffering, and how capable the parents are of meeting their needs, amongst other things.

The family law solicitors at Myerson have considerable experience advising and representing at court members of families who are affected by addiction issues, including individuals who are suffering with addiction. If you require family law advice, please contact our family law solicitors on 0161 941 4000 or email us at lawyers@myerson.co.uk. Based in Altrincham, Manchester, Cheshire, we are easily accessible for clients who live in the surrounding areas including Warrington, Macclesfield, Hale, Bowdon, Lymm, Knutsford, Alderley Edge, Wilmslow and Prestbury.

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