Could My Marijuana Use Jeopardize My Parental Rights?

If you are involved in a custody dispute and use marijuana, you may wonder if this could be used against you when it comes to parental rights and custody. The truth is somewhat murky because of the changing legal status of marijuana in many states.

Medicinal Use

Some parents have had issues with custody and state CPS (children’s protective services) agencies even when they are using it for medicinal purposes in a state that has a legal medical use provision. You may even be asked to stop your use in this situation and have to submit to treatment to gain/regain custody of the children.

Other Factors

Some family courts or states’ CPS agencies may be somewhat tolerant of occasional parental marijuana use, even if it is still illegal in those places. Four states have legalized use and others have decriminalized possession of a small amount.

However, if there would be an issue if a CPS caseworker received an eye-witness account or other evidence that you do these things:

  • You smoke or ingest it while the children are present.
  • You have marijuana or paraphernalia in easy reach of the children.
  • You are exposing the children to marijuana growing operations.
  • You become so impaired that your children are not being supervised properly.
  • You allow your minor children to smoke or ingest it.
  • You are using more serious illegal drugs, or you are facing criminal drug charges.
  • You are not providing a safe, clean environment for your children to live in or visit.

In Divorce Court

When it comes to divorce and custody, a lot hinges on how tolerant your ex is and how willing they are to make an issue of your pot use. If your marijuana use has become a problem that affects your day-to-day functioning, then an ex would be negligent to ignore it, just as they would be if they ignored alcoholism or an addiction to hard substances.

It would be ultimately self-defeating if both ex-spouses use and are pointing the fingers at each other. In this case, you could both lose custody of your children to the state or to relatives.

If you have a past history of drug or alcohol abuse, this would not be held against you in divorce court, and if you are falsely accused of pot use/drug use, a judge may grant custody to you instead of your mate.

Legal Representation

To get specific legal advice about custody issues and protect your parenting rights, you should consult a family law attorney in your state.

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