If your drinking and/or drug use contributed to the end of your marriage and a fractured relationship with your children, you’re certainly not alone. However, many people with substance abuse problems need critical events like those to be the impetus for them to seek help.

If you’re in recovery and seeking greater visitation rights or shared custody of your children, you may have to deal with a judge who doesn’t understand addiction and recovery. Recovering alcoholics and addicts still face prejudice and discrimination in family courts. If your co-parent isn’t yet ready to give you a second chance to pull your parental weight, it may seem like the odds are stacked against you for once again being a meaningful part of your children’s lives.

That’s why it’s essential to build a strong case when you’re seeking more time with your children. It may be helpful to bring in a physician who can dispel some myths surrounding addiction and recovery.

It’s also essential to document your progress. Recovery is different for everyone. It may include time in a rehabilitation facility, a 12-step program, individual therapy, anti-craving medications or some combination of those. You’ll want to show your commitment to your recovery and explain what you’re doing to prevent a relapse. This includes knowing your triggers and having a healthy way of coping with them or reaching out for help so that you don’t resort to your old, destructive behaviors.

If you’re seeking changes to your child custody and time sharing agreements as you progress in your recovery, it’s essential to work with your Florida family law attorney as well as with the professionals aiding you in your recovery. Together, you can form a strategy to get the opportunity to be the parent you couldn’t be in the past.