Drug Testing and Custody Disputes Lawyers

Authored by , LegalMatch Law Library Managing Editor and Attorney at Law

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Most Common Family Law Issues:

Can I be Drug Tested During a Child Custody Dispute?

Yes, like drug testing in divorce, a parent in a child custody battle can file a motion to force you to submit to a drug test, leaving a judge to decide whether or not to grant it. Additionally, the judge may decide to independently order a drug test for you and/or the other parent seeking custody. Typically the judge will order a drug test, or grant a motion for one, if he or she believes that one or both of the parties seeking custody is abusing drugs. The best interests of the child are substantially hurt when a parent abuses drugs.

What Happens If I Fail a Drug Test During My Child Custody Dispute?

Failing a drug test during your child custody dispute can be very damaging to your case. Drug abuse is evidence that you are unfit to be awarded child custody or visitation rights. A judge will be hesitant to grant custody to a parent who uses drugs for fear that the child may be exposed to illicit drug use, neglected by a parent under the influence (a form of child abuse), or exposed to the multitude to criminal behaviors (drug crimes) that often accompany illegal drug use. In cases where a parent fails a drug test, a judge can deny them custody, or restrict the contact they have with their children by only allowing supervised visits.

Can Drug Testing be Included in My Custody or Visitation Agreement?

Yes.  If your soon to be ex has a history of drug use, you can agree in include drug testing in the custody or visitation agreement. For example, you may agree that your ex take and pass a drug test before any scheduled visit by the children. A failed test may result in a lost visit. Additionally, you can agree that a certain number of failed tests will result in loss of custody or visitation rights.

In many cases, the loss of custody or visitation rights due to drug use can be reversed.  Judges are sometimes willing to re-examine and modify custody and visitation agreements when parents can show that they have changed and are now fit to have custody or visitation rights reinstated. Completion of drug or alcohol rehabilitation programs, multiple passed drug tests, and other evidence of changed behavior are all ways for individuals to show the court that they should be awarded more parental rights.

Do I Need a Lawyer for My Custody Dispute Involving Drug Testing?

Courts make custody and visitation decisions based on the best interests of the children involved. If drug testing threatens your parental rights, you need to contact a family attorney. Your attorney will help ensure that your parental rights are protected. 

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Last Modified: 05-02-2014 07:55 AM PDT

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