Often during a
contested custody or parenting time case or as a result of one parent accusing the other
of drug abuse and/or alcohol abuse I will be asked to have the Court test
the other person. The first thing that you need to consider is that the
Court will often order that both parties be tested. So I always will inquire
of my client if my client is the one asking for the test whether there
is any reason for me to be concerned how they will test. You would be
surprised how often the parent accusing the other one is also using pot,
or other non-prescribed drugs.
When the request is made, usually, the Court will order an instant urine
drug/alcohol test. The test will be done that day in the courthouse for
a cost of $25 per person and there will be a quick result provided to
the judge. Just because there is a positive result does not mean drug
abuse. Parents may have legitimate prescriptions which they absolutely
should tell the tester what they take and the dosage. If the test is positive,
the court will usually send out the specimen for a full lab analysis so
that further detail can be provided as to what drugs showed up rather
than just the type of drug class.
If there are no valid prescriptions for the drugs that show-up the court
will usually order supervised visitation until more information is available
and/or treatment is obtained by the parent with the positive test result.
The Court can also order a hair follicle test which can go back 30, 60,
90 days or up to a year. The longer the duration the more expensive the
test which can cost between $300 to $500 dollars. The reason for the test
is because a person may pass the instant urine test but still have a long
history of drug abuse.
While there are no laws about consuming alcohol in a safe environment such
as your home (not counting driving or similar laws), the Court will be
concerned about allegations that a parent is drinking excessively either
before or during parenting time. If a person has a DWI, and a positive
alcohol test, with allegations that the parent drinks when the children
are present, there will most likely be supervised visitation.
These issues can become complicated and it will always be best to have
an experienced matrimonial attorney present to guide you through these
proceedings whether you are the parent without or with the problem.