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Hoge Partners, PLLC
First Trust Centre
Suite 400 South

200 South Fifth Street
Louisville, Kentucky 40202
Fax:  (502) 583-1223
Phone:  (502) 583-2005
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Drugs, Alcohol, Gambling and Other Addictions

The attorneys at Hoge Partners share a unique knowledge, keen understanding of and compassion for the effects that drug addiction, alcoholism, recovery, co-dependency, adult children's issues and dealing with the sad and special difficulties in a dysfunctional home can have on a marriage and a family.

If you or your spouse have a problem with drugs, alcohol, gambling, sexual addiction or other issues which have damaged your marriage, you need to consider the impact these issues will have on:

In February 2017, the Kentucky Court of Appeals made an important decision that potentially impacts thousands of people who have successfully battled addictive behaviors.

The appellate court held that a parent’s PAST drug use and criminal history could not be relied upon as evidence that a PRESENT danger exists which negatively affects the party’s ability to parent.

KRS 403.270(3) provides:

 “The court shall not consider conduct of a proposed custodian that does not affect his relationship to the child. If domestic violence and abuse is alleged, the court shall determine the extent to which the domestic violence and abuse has affected the child and the child's relationship to both parents.”

In the 2017 case mentioned above, the father failed to prove that the mother’s PAST history drug use adversely affected the PRESENT best interest of the child, or how it might do so in the future.

There was no evidence presented at trial that the mother displayed a current pattern of substance abuse and related behavior which rendered her incapable of adequately caring for the child or ensuring the child’s safety.

It’s important to note that the mother has maintained her sobriety since before the child was born, that her drug use and criminal history prior to the birth of the child had never had an impact on the child and that she was able to successfully pass a drug screen test at the time of the trial. She had also completed an intensive drug court program and had graduated from the county drug court program prior to the child’s birth, had completed a community service project, had celebrated multiple sobriety milestones, had maintained her employment and had not been arrested since before the birth of the child.

The Kentucky Court of Appeals stated in this 2017 decision:

“While a court is not required to wait for children to be harmed before it considers a parent’s conduct, there should be credible evidence to suggest that the conduct has actually or is likely to put the child at risk of harm.”  [Emphasis added.]

Here, the appellate court found the mother’s past drug use and criminal record predated the child’s birth and that there had been no determination by the lower court’s Domestic Relations Commissioner that she was actively used drugs or had engaged in any criminal behavior since child’s birth or that she was likely to do so in the immediate future.

BOTTOM LINE: Without evidence of a CURRENT threat to a child’s health, safety or welfare, Kentucky trial courts cannot give sole custody to one parent based entirely on the other parent’s PAST drug use or criminal history with no evidence of any current threat of physical, emotional or psychological harm to the child.


If you live in Kentucky and your relationship with your spouse and/or children is impacted by a past or present addiction issue, please contact us to discuss your legal options.

If you need help with alcoholism, we urge you to contact:

If a friend or family member needs help with alcoholism, we urge you to visit:

If the problem is narcotics addiction, we recommend:

There is help for addicted gamblers at:

Your children can find help at: