Addiction is harmful to the addict and to those who depend on the addict for provision, contributions or affection. However, in most situations, legal bodies do not enter the situation to tell the addict to change their ways. This can change quickly when an addict becomes so lost in their addiction that they are not upholding their end of a legally binding contract. For example, when an addict is a parent of a young child and the addict’s harmful behavior is endangering the child, the law will step in. Addicts may think they are free to wallow in their addiction as much as they want, but when they are parents, the law will eventually hold them responsible. Several of the ways that an addicted parent may be held legally responsible for their actions are as follows:
- Child support. It does not matter if a parent is an addict or not, they are still financially responsible for their child. If both parents work and provide an income for their dependents, they are both legally financially responsible for them. If only one parent provides an income for their dependants, they are legally financially responsible for them. It is very common for a person afflicted with an addiction to become inadequate at providing an income for their dependants, either because they invest all their money into their addiction or because they cannot hold employment due to the irresponsibility that their addiction causes them to have.
- Abuse or neglect. Child abuse and neglect can appear in many forms, however, addicted parents are statistically more likely to commit this type of offense that non-addicted parents. Signs of neglect may include malnutrition or lack of hygiene in children. Abuse is obviously detected by noticeable injuries and strange behavior in children. While abuse and neglect are not direct byproducts of addiction, they can be strongly related to it.