Parties going through a custody case often find the process difficult and emotionally draining. Custody cases often happen in the midst of a break-up. The break-up could be through divorce proceedings. Or, the break-up can occur outside of marriage where parties have children together.
In these times, the stress can be overwhelming. Unfortunately, many can turn to drugs or alcohol as an escape. For others, they may have used drugs previously in the past. They might have used drugs casually with the knowledge of their spouse or significant other. When the relationship was still intact, the drug use might not have been a major source of dispute between the parties. In some instances, parties may have even casually used drugs together.
Obviously, frequent drug use in front of children is not a good thing in any shape, matter or form. Almost all the research points to this being harmful to children. Without getting into whether casual drug use away from the children is harmful to the children or not, the reality is that a failed drug test in the midst of a custody case can sink it. If a parent is seeking frequent and meaningful contact with their children, a failed drug test can be fatal to the overall outcome. Even where both parties have used drugs in the past — but one party is currently passing drug tests while the other is failing — the results can be disastrous for the parent who does not presently test clean.
In many instances, a parent’s visitation might end up being supervised for a time until several clean drug tests are present. In some cases, the court may want a parent to undergo drug rehabilitation before receiving unsupervised visitation. In some cases, where a parent continually fails drug tests, that parent could ultimately end up with only supervised visitation for the long-term. Importantly, that parent can also end up not being an equal decision maker in the lives of their children in terms of legal custody. In some cases where the drug use is extreme, parents can even have their parental rights terminated — and the children can end up in the custody of the state.
For all these reasons, it is critical that parents think long and hard before they even engage in casual drug use as a parent. At the end of the day, the interests of the children have to come first. The reality is that it can be extremely difficult for anybody to compartmentalize drug use away from the children even when they are not in the midst of a custody case. However, while in the middle of a custody case and/or court proceedings, the drug use simply has to stop.
One might question why it’s okay for parties to engage in casual alcohol use, yet they can’t engage in casual drug use, but the reality is that drugs are still illegal in most states. Many judges will simply think the worst (and conclude the drug use is persistent) if a party cannot refrain from using drugs when the custody of their children are at stake. And, for this reason, a failed drug test can figuratively bring down a custody case quicker than the downing of the Titanic. Thus, if you care about your children, and desire frequent and meaningful visitation, you cannot risk failing a drug test.
If you are going through a divorce or custody case, Stange Law Firm, PC and their child custody attorneys in Missouri and Illinois can help. You can reach us at 1-855-805-0595.