Even if you engage in illicit drug usage casually, this can still make it much more difficult to maintain custody of your child. If you are struggling with an addiction, winning or maintaining custody will be almost impossible and you should instead devote your time toward recovering. During a custody dispute, the courts will try to determine which situation is in the best interests of the child. While a history of drug abuse will always affect your custody battle, there are ways to have your history of drug abuse affect the situation less.
Establishing Your Substance Abuse Patterns
Proving that you have abused drugs requires independent corroboration. The courts both try to establish whether you have abused drugs and whether your drug abuse is habitual. If you are convicted of possession, this is strong evidence that you should be tested.
The other parent in a child custody dispute can file a motion for you to get a drug test. Also, the judge can file a motion to require you to submit to a drug test, triggered if there is an event that raises suspicions that you are abusing drugs. Under these circumstances, you will then need to usually take a blood test or provide a urine sample to prove that you do not have elevated chemicals that would indicate that you have recently consumed illicit substances. You may be asked to perform a psychological evaluation to make sure that you are fit to have custody or visitation rights. Also, the other parent may choose to require you to submit to a drug test before you visit your child.
Proving You Are A Suitable Parent
If you do have a history of drug abuse, you will want to get into treatment as soon as possible. You may need medical assistance to kick your addiction. If you do receive treatment, the courts will consider that you have changed your behavior and will look at you more favorably when you seek a change in your child custody rights.
You may be given temporary visitation to demonstrate that you can safely look after a child. These visitations will be supervised by an individual assigned by the court. The judge may look at other issues pertaining to your drug abuse. For example, if you appear to have anger issues or engage in neglectful parenting practices, you may need to attend classes. During this period, be sure to consult with a child custody attorney (such as one from the Law Offices of Gordon Liebmann) so you can take all of the right steps to regain custody.