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How to Request a Drug Test in Your Child Custody Case
Social and cultural acceptance of marijuana has led to legalization in many states. Florida parents may wonder how parental drug use impacts child custody cases. But if a parent’s drug use is a problem, the child deserves protection.
Addiction, dependence, problem use. Whatever you call it, when a parent’s substance abuse puts a child at risk, there is something you can do. Substance abusers may neglect the needs of their children in favor of their habit. Sometimes, impaired judgment leads to violent behavior.
An attorney can help you paint the picture for the court if your is child at risk from a parent’s substance abuse.
During the marriage, a spouse can try to protect the children. But if you share custody with a drug user, you may feel helpless to protect your child. In Florida, parents can ask the court to order a drug test in their child custody case.
Best Interest of the Child
Florida law favors “time sharing” of children after a divorce. Courts tend to give both parents meaningful time with their children. If spending time with one parent puts the child at risk, the court may decide to limit their time.
Time alone with a parent with a drug problem is not always in the best interest of the child. The court may limit the parenting time when drug addiction or dependency puts a child at risk. Under Florida Statutes 61.13, parents must “maintain an environment for the child which is free from substance abuse”.
Supporting Your Request
The Court will not order a test simply because you think there’s a drug problem. It is hard enough for children when parents go through a divorce. Parents often make it worse by acting out of guilt or shame.
Sadly, it is common for parents to accuse the other parent unfairly.
To avoid being accused of making false allegations, you will need to show proof, such as:
- Previous drug-related arrests, charges or convictions
- Substance-related medical treatment (rehab, therapy, or prescriptions for the cessation of drug use)
- Witness testimony about incidents of drug use
We know how to guide parents who suspect a co-parent is abusing drugs or alcohol.
How the Court Will Consider the Results
Florida courts balance many child custody factors when deciding custody cases. A failed drug test may not automatically result in a change in custody. An experienced family law attorney can help show how a parent’s drug use impacts a child.
According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, warning signals include:
- Skipping school or failing in school
- Withdrawal from friends and classmates
- Frequently complaining of headaches or stomach aches
- Loss of interest in hobbies, activities, or sports
If your child is showing any of the warning signals, there could be a connection between the child’s behavior and the parent’s substance abuse.
In cases where a parent shows recovery, Florida courts have awarded unsupervised time-sharing. If there is evidence to show that your child’s parent may relapse, we can help you put that evidence before the court. Statistics show that addicts often relapse repeatedly during recovery.
Should You Request a Drug Test in Your Child Custody Case?
A parent’s substance abuse or dependency can leave a child at risk. If you have enough evidence to show problem drug use, you can ask the court to order a drug test of the other parent.
There are potential drawbacks to requesting a drug test. The court may order both parties to be drug tested. The other parent may test clean. If so, the court could order you to pay for the drug test. Only an experienced attorney can help you strategize the best course of action in your case.
Contact Our Divorce Law Firm in Orlando, FL
Contact the experienced Orlando divorce lawyers at McMichen, Cinami & Demps today for legal assistance. Contact our Orlando, FL office at (407) 898-2161 to schedule a free consultation.
McMichen, Cinami & Demps – Orlando Office
1500 E Concord St
Orlando, FL 32803