Often times, clients will ask me, “What kind of evidence do I need that the other parent is a perpetrator of domestic abuse or has an alcohol or drug problem?” Usually that means that there must be some sort of objective evidence. In other words, you just can't come to court and say, “I believe the other parent has a meth problem,” or, “I believe the other parent has an alcohol problem.” You need to have some independent evidence of that. Like what? Well, it usually involves maybe a conviction for DUI, a drug possession situation, photographs or evidence independently that there were drugs in the house, that a parent left when children were there.
The other kinds of evidence that is important would be if a parent is saying that the other parent is dangerous because they have an anger or domestic violence problem, is the number of calls that the police have responded to to the house or home where the family has lived. You would get the police reports or the police call reports to show the number of calls and how often the police have come. Has there been a conviction for harassment or domestic violence? These are critical factors for the court in any kind of custody case. You'll find that a lawyer that has a lot of experience in taking these cases to court and appearing in front of the judge, is going to know and be able to tell you what kind of evidence is really going to be significant that a court will rely on.