Dear Carolyn,

I have to accept the fact that the father of my children is an alcoholic. I worry, I fret, but I cannot change him. He will not get help, but please know he hides his drinking well. The custody case is on the court docket, and I need a strategy to gain legal custody and safety for the children. What alcohol strategies are available to protect my children?


Carolyn Answers,

Documenting alcoholism can be difficult. Hire a great private investigator with some available tools under North Carolina law. These tools might be 1) a GPS on the father’s car and 2) picking up the father’s garbage from his curb. When combined with surveillance, you may get the frequency and location of where the father is buying alcohol. The garbage may have lots of empty alcohol bottles.

Several tools are available that you could ask the court to order to monitor alcohol consumed by the father. The court can order either a SCRAM bracelet or Soberlink. SCRAM bracelets are continuous alcohol monitoring (CAM) in the form of an ankle bracelet. A SCRAM bracelet tests perspiration every 30 minutes through a transdermal method. Soberlink is a device the approximate size of a small flip phone. The participant blows into the Soberlink device, which registers alcohol and sends the report to the designated persons, such as the attorneys or you. Visitation could be ordered to be withheld if the father fails to blow or blows registering alcohol. There are other tools, but these are the two most common ones I see.


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