How Drug Abuse Allegations Can Affect Child Custody

In a contested custody case, the Supreme or Family Court will only grant child custody to parents that are deemed capable of providing a safe, and reasonably appropriate living environment for their children. Out of the many disfavored behaviors that could make a court decide to restrict a parent’s access to their child, drug addiction and prescription drug abuse are among the worst. If it is proven, through a drug test or other reliable evidence, that a parent is using narcotics or misusing prescriptions, the odds of him or her getting child custody right will greatly diminish and in fact that parent may wind up with supervised visitation.

Drug Abuse Allegations During Divorce

If the judge ruling over a divorce is told by one spouse that the other is abusing drugs, an order for both of them to undergo immediate drug testing will likely be given. The court may order either or both urine and hair follicle testing to reduce the chance of someone having cleaned up for a day or two. We actually discussed the full process of court-ordered drug testing during a divorce in another blog entry – be sure to give it a read as well. If a parent does test positive for illegal drugs, the result will often be the removal of physical child custody and the establishment of supervised visitation. The results may depend on many factors including the age of the child, the type of drugs and how recently they were used.

During supervised visitation, the visiting parent is not allowed to be alone with his or her child. Generally, a third-party supervisor, such as a family member or friend, must be present at all times to ensure the parent is not acting as a poor influence on the child. Where no such person is willing or available to supervise, the visits may take place at a facility with neutral supervisors who then write a report to the judge.

Attempts at Child Custody Sabotage

If you take prescription drugs or have dabbled in recreational marijuana, you must be aware that your spouse may attempt to use that information against you during a divorce. By presenting an argument to the court that you abuse your prescriptions or frequently use illegal narcotics, he or she could sabotage your chances of getting to raise your child. In case you do test positive for drug use, it pays to know ahead of time how to explain the legitimacy of that use.

Kuhn & Sandler, PLLC and our Suffolk County divorce attorneys can help you understand your rights and fight to uphold them after being accused of drug abuse during your child custody case. We have been 100% focused on family law cases for 26 years and Steven P. Kuhn, Esq. has been an attorney for 35 years. Call 631-629-6874 to set up a free case evaluation to discuss your options.