More often it seems there are claims being made that one parent consumes alcohol excessively and that this has a negative impact upon their ability to parent the children of a marriage or relationship.

If the Family Court is asked to determine a child’s living arrangements, the Court’s focus will be on what is in the child’s best interests. One of the things the Court has to give thought to is the need to protect the child or children from being subjected to, or exposed to, abuse, neglect or family violence. In those circumstances, if there are allegations made that one parent excessively uses or abuses alcohol the Court will take those allegations very seriously. So in a situation where one party’s time with their child or children is being limited, or refused, due to these claims it becomes necessary for the party accused to obtain evidence to refute the claims made against them and show the Court that the child or children are not at risk of being subjected to, or exposed to, abuse, neglect or family violence.

There are a myriad of testing methods a party can avail themselves of to obtain evidence that refutes the allegation of excessive use of alcohol but these tests can come at a cost so it is important to ensure that the method of testing used is one that is effective in supporting a party’s position.
Random urinalysis alcohol screens are one method that has been used in the past. However, the flaw with this method of testing is that alcohol clears relatively quickly after consumption prior to a time when regulated testing can be undertaken.

Recently, there has been a trend in the Family Court to order parties accused of excessively using alcohol to undergo carbohydrate deficient transferrin (CDT) tests. CDT tests are an effective method of testing for excessive alcohol use, but not for total abstinence as every individual has some level of CDT whether they consume alcohol or not, but CDT levels are elevated in those who excessively consume alcohol. A benefit of CDT tests is that the tests measure the use of alcohol for 2-3 weeks prior to the test, which means testing can be less frequent.

If you have are currently facing difficulties in relation to parenting issues or otherwise have any queries in relation to your family law parenting issues, please contact our Family Law team at or on 9525 8688.