Alcoholism and Other Addictions
As a result of the unique skill set between Richard Gregorian (Principal Solicitor) and Gavin Emerson (mental health specialist), we have an unrivalled ability to understand and incorporate into our clients' cases all issues relating to alcoholism and drug and other addictions. This enables us to formulate a strategy for agreement, mediation, and/or litigation in the most effective way for our clients to succeed in achieving their objectives whilst the relationship between the parent concerned and the children may continue with appropriate safeguards, if it is safe to do so.
Without such "in-house" mental health expertise, it is very likely that one or more of the following outcomes will occur:
- In the culture of blame and counter-blame that accompanies family law litigation in this area, the natural concerns of the parent exposed to the addictive behaviour of their former spouse/partner can be "lost", leading to even more frustration, hurt and helplessness;
- The parent seeking to "prove" alcoholism in the other party can "sleepwalk" into unhelpful expert opinion from court appointed psychiatrists. Such experts who are, after all, only human, caring professionals who wish to see a positive outcome for the suffering parent, may be unable to see through the self-serving, self reporting of the parent being assessed. Alcoholism does, after all, involve a legal substance consumed by most adults and, therefore, it is really a question of degree as to whether an individual is a problematic drinker. Alternatively, the expert may arrive at the conclusion that simply being alcoholic does not disbar the suffering parent from contact with their children. They may go even further and report that since alcoholism or other addictive behaviour is based in a dysfunctional coping mechanism, one of the appropriate treatment plans is for the suffering parent to have contact with their child(ren) re-established.
Where the primary symptomology of alcoholism or other addictive behaviour is denial and secrecy, our joint legal and psychological approach is particularly effective to ensure that the "truth" of the addiction is demonstrated to the court and other child-centric agencies, whilst the best outcome for the children is secured.
These dangers are avoided in the approach that we take to such matters. Our joint legal and psychological approach not only maximises the chances of demonstrating alcoholism or other addictive behaviour prior to the defensive and inflexible behaviour associated with the appointment of a court-appointed expert but also enables us to speak the same language as any mental health expert who may be appointed.
A selection of articles are set out below. Please also consult the section on Mental Health.
Contact Gregorian Emerson Family Law Solicitors
Based in Guildford, Surrey and London, if you have a family dispute that needs resolving, we are here to help and look forward to your call. Please click here to contact us, or call us on 01483 610 766.