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Family law: Drug, alcohol issues in Spice Girl's custody battle

A family law judge recently ordered a mother of several children to agree to random drug testing for a period of several months. That mother happens to be former Spice Girl, Melanie Brown. She has been entangled in a contentious child custody battle regarding her 7-year-old daughter. New Jersey parents currently facing similar issues may want to follow this case.

The child's father is reportedly receiving $5,000 per month in child support and a substantial amount of money in spousal support as well. He was married to Brown for 10 years before their divorce was settled in 2017. Brown, who also has two older daughters, ages 11 and 19, has denied allegations made against her by a former caretaker of her children, claiming she is an alcoholic and that her addiction makes her an unfit parent.

At one point, Brown had filed a restraining order against the father. However, she consented to the withdrawal of the order before their divorce was finalized. The court has prohibited both parents from imbibing alcohol or taking any drugs within eight hours of having custody of their 7-year-old child.

Because the court focuses on the best interests of the children in these matters, an investigation may be opened any time an accusation is filed against a parent regarding substance addiction or physical abuse. When a New Jersey family law judge includes prohibition of alcohol as part of a custody order, parents must adhere. In some circumstances, if the court determines that a particular parent's behavior is a detriment to his or her children, restrictions may be imposed on the parent with regard to custodial and/or visitation issues.

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