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Proving "Alcoholism" (Alcohol Dependence Syndrome) in Family Law

The Implications for testing in London Borough of Richmond v B and Others [2010] EWHC 2903 (Fam) (Mr Justice Moylan) One of the more common reasons for the instruction of experts in family law cases is in the "proving" of alcoholism (alcohol dependence syndrome), harmful or problem drinking, or alcohol abuse (an issue which warrants a separate article). In extreme cases where the alcohol-related behaviour creates physical risk for the child (the stereotypical example being given of dropping the baby into hot bathwater), the facts may speak for themselves and the court able to protect the welfare of the child, through its range of available orders without requiring a formal diagnosis.Consistent with the abuse of alcohol in society, and the fact that physical manifestations of alcohol-related behaviour simply represent the tip of an iceberg, the main body of which is comprised of the emotional and psychological problems underlying such destructive behaviour, there are many more cases of seemingly otherwise "normal" working and middle class families where alcohol abuse is a concern expressed by one of the parents but where the children have not been directly impacted by its use.

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