Drugs During Your Child Custody Dispute
In times of a divorce, custody, or family law matter leading to a case; the parties going through the case will feel exhausted, emotionally and physically. When the stress adds up, it becomes more and more over whelming; causing some to turn to drugs or alcohol thinking it may help. Maybe the parties have previously, casually done drugs in the past. For others, maybe they consider the option because they have never done it before, with hope that it will be an escape for them.
The biggest concern that comes from this is when children are involved. Nearly all research shows that frequent drug use in front of children proves to be extremely harmful. Another large concern that comes from this situation is how badly a failed drug test will hurt you and your case. If a parent is seeking frequent and meaningful contact with their children, a failed drug test can be fatal to the overall outcome. This still is true, regardless of which parent may have used drugs in the past. If one party currently proves to still be using drugs, the result can be disastrous for that party, and is typically very hard to come back from.
It’s obvious that when you are using drugs, you are not being the best parent to your child because you are putting your life and your child’s life at risk. Sometimes it helps to consider and recognize the worst case scenario of a situation. For example, what would happen if you chose to use drugs and overdosed, leaving your child left unsupervised while you are passed out or needing serious medical attention. Serious examples like this point to negligence or child endangerment which could cause you to lose custody.
Until the party that displayed an act of drug or alcohol abuse is able to provide a clean drug test, supervised visitation could be limited could even be taken away for the time being. In some instances, depending on the party and their past history with drugs (if any), the judge may place an order for the party to undergo rehab before receiving unsupervised visitation again.
A common misconception is that you will automatically lose custody if you choose or are ordered to attend rehab, but this is not always true. Entering rehab can show the courts that you are committed to getting better, which then allows you a chance to prove to the court that you are capable of raising your child sensibly and that they can depend on you. You are entering a rehab because you recognize that you need help. Young children and even teenagers are always watching what their parents do, even if you don’t realize it. You need to be the best person and parent possible, so if that means you need to attend rehab, you need to recognize that it must be done if you want to remain a part of your child’s life.
Something else that is important to understand is the outcome of multiple failed drug tests. Supervised visitations could be in order long term- if at all. This obviously then causes that party to lost all rights as an equal decision maker in the lives of the children and in terms of legal custody. Parental rights can be terminated, which then causes the children to be in custody of the state.
Whether you are fighting to be the primary residential parent who has full custody or fighting for weekend visits with your children the evaluation process by the court will encompass and consider all of your behavior at all times. Something that is important to think about depending on your terms with the other parent is that they may jump to point out any and all negative behavior that you demonstrate. Another important thing to remember is that children are mimics. You should expect your children to tell their mother everything you tell them. Knowing this, you should be aware of things said to the children or around the children that relate to their mother.
These are a few reasons why it is so extremely vital that parents understand what they are putting at stake if they choose to casually use drugs. First thing is first, and that should always be keeping the children’s’ best interest in mind above all else. Someone may question what the difference is between a party casually using drugs and causally drinking alcohol. Although alcohol abuse can be just as destructive and dangerous as drug abuse, it is still legal above all else, whereas most drugs are not.
The outcome of your case can become detrimental if it is not clear that you have your child’s best interest in mind. Something to remember to help you during the time of your case is to behave as though the judge were standing next to you each time you interact with the children or other parent. This will certainly help you avoid the pitfalls that will reduce your custody chances.