Divorce is never easy, but matters become even more difficult when a parent is accused of drug or alcohol abuse. It is then that the court can step in and mandate child custody drug testing.
What is child custody drug testing?
In most amicable divorce cases, couples with children receive joint custody, meaning the children live primarily with one parent during the week, and stay with the other on weekends or other designated days.
However, custody agreements become much more difficult if one parent seeks sole custody after accusing their former spouse of abusing drugs. In order for the court to mandate a drug test, the accused parent must have some type of recorded history with drugs or alcohol.
When might custody drug testing be used?
- While the court is deciding who to appoint primary custody to
- Before or after scheduled visitation with a child
- While a child currently resides under a parent’s custody, as this can be a requirement for maintaining their legal rights
- If a parent’s alcohol or prescription drug use is accused of impeding their caregiving abilities
A common misconception is that a parent can refuse a drug test, claiming the right to not self incriminate. However, that right only applies to criminal charges, not civil or custodial cases, so if you are ordered to take one or multiple drug tests, you must comply.
In each of these situations, one constant remains – the need to maintain the utmost safety of the child. While it’s not something that is used in every custody situation, in some instances courts could order child custody drug testing. Being able to stay clean and pass these tests could have a direct impact on your future as a parent and on your relationship with your children and should be taken very seriously.
A full service drug and alcohol testing company, National Drug Screening (NDS) also provides Medical Review Officer (MRO) services and web based drug testing software. Drug Testing Centers are open daily and are available for individuals, court ordered programs, and required testing for colleges and universities.
DRUG TESTING IN CHILD CUSTODY CASES
While most people assume that drug testing is something that is only really done for employment screening or as part of a probation situation, there are numerous other situations where drug screenings may be needed as well. A perfect example of this is in child custody drug testing.
This can be a slippery, confusing slope, however. The huge range of situations out there means that no two custody cases are identical. However, it’s true that if a parent is involved in a contentious, emotional divorce that there is a change that the attorneys on one side or the other may requires that the judge order a child custody drug test.
This is usually only done if there is a strong reason to believe that a parent is using illegal drugs, and is issued according to the court’s goal of making sure that the best interests of the child are the focus of a case. A child custody drug test could be ordered to occur:
- During the proceedings determining who is to receive custody of the child
- Before a visit from the children to the non-custodial parent’s home
- After visitation has ended
- At any point during a stay with a parent – custodial or non-custodial
In some cases, court systems may also order child custody drug tests for parents who have been found guilty of drug related crimes or have lost their children due to drug issues in the past. As part of returning to their role as parents, drug testing may be used to ensure that they are remaining clean and that their children are cared for.
Whatever the situation, there’s no question that drug testing has a major role to play when it comes to child custody and ensuring that the children are receiving the kind of care that they deserve. It’s only one element in the realm of child custody, but it could be an important one.
Drug testing is often thought of as being something that only employers will use when trying to determine whether or not someone is suitable for joining their team. However, there are many additional reasons that drug testing could be used. While it’s fairly rare, child custody drug testing does exist and is used in situations where a court feels that it is in the best interests of a child to do so.
But it’s often misunderstood, and it’s well worth taking a closer look at some of the key reasons that child custody drug testing may be used and what it means to you. Here are the primary situations when it may be used.
- During a custody battle in the court system, when a parent feels that the other parent is unsuitable and unsafe as a caregiver. Courts may order child custody drug testing to determine whether or not this is the case.
- In certain situations, drug testing is used before, during, or following a visitation period with a child by a non-custodial parent. This is often ordered as part of a visitation order, and will be used to ensure the safety of the children.
- Drug testing could be used as a provision for maintaining custody of a child such as for parents who have previously lost custody to the state due to their drug abuse.
In each of these situations, one constant remains – the need to maintain the utmost safety of the child. While it’s not something that is used in every custody situation, in some instances courts could order child custody drug testing. Being able to stay clean and pass these tests could have a direct impact on your future as a parent and on your relationship with your children. It’s something to take seriously no matter what the specifics of your case may be.