This is the fourth post in our series on the handling of Orange County child custody cases involving drug abuse by a parent. Our last article discussed the discovery process in custody modification matters. It is important to understand that tools are available which allow you to gather needed evidence. In this post we will discuss another important topic – how Family Court Judges often respond in cases which involve “hard drugs” such as methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine, etc. If you believe that your child’s other parent is abusing such substances then it is crucial that you contact an attorney immediately.
A Family Court Judge’s primary concern will always be the best interest of the child. A parent who abuses hard drugs is likely to be found to be acting against those interests. First, it almost goes without saying, that a parent who is using such substances is likely unable to meet the child’s needs. They should not be supervising a child while impaired, they should not be operating a motor vehicle, and their decision making is likely to be suspect. Second, parents who use such narcotics often have very serious addiction issues. These issues may cause the parent to subject the child to dangerous situations. These include having the children around people who carry firearms, possibly taking the child to a drug transaction, and, in extreme cases, taking the child with them while they prostitute themselves in exchange for drugs. These are just a few examples of instances which put a child in danger and justify a change of custody.
Courts will often take a strict stance against the use of harder drugs when kids are involved. A parent who is found to be using such substances will likely have to have their time with the child supervised until such time that they can demonstrate to the Court that they are drug free, that they have been clean for a period of time, and that there is no risk of relapse. Depending on the circumstances the Court may require the offending part to take regular drug tests and to meet other requirements before making a request for unsupervised visitation. Such requirements may include having a residence suitable for the child to stay in, having shown steady employment, etc.
Contact our Orange County child custody attorneys immediately if you are going through a dispute which involves a parent’s abuse of addictive narcotics. Our lawyers will use your initial consultation to gain an understanding of what is going on and to help you understand what it is you should expect from the process. We will quickly file a Motion to Change Custody and, if the circumstances warrant it, we will request that the Court hear the case immediately. We have extensive experience in such matters and we are ready to assist you.
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