Arons & Solomon Divorce Lawyers | March 9, 2022 | Child Custody
When you are fighting for custody of your child, you need all the evidence you can gather to demonstrate that you are the parent who should be awarded custody. If you’re seeking full custody of your child because your ex-partner has a drug problem, requesting a drug test can give you the evidence you need to gain full custody. Requesting a drug test in a child custody case can be the best way to keep your child out of situations that could be dangerous and harmful.
The court’s primary concern is the best interest of the child. The court wants to know if there is any cause to suspect that a parent may negatively impact the child’s best interest. The court considers the child’s safety a significant factor when deciding custody and time-sharing arrangements, and drug use can create an unsafe and unstable home environment.
If you suspect that your child’s other parent is using drugs, tell your Bergen County child custody lawyer your suspicions immediately. Then, your attorney can request the court to order drug testing in your case.
How Do You Obtain a Court Order Requiring Drugs Tests in a Child Custody Case?
It is your duty to protect your child. Unfortunately, you may need to protect your child from their other parent. If you suspect that your child’s other parent is using drugs, your attorney may file a motion requesting drug tests.
The court may order one or both parents to undergo drug tests in New Jersey child custody matters. Depending on the circumstances and the judge’s preference, the judge may order hair, urine, or blood tests for drug detection. Hair drug tests generally are the best way to show long-term drug use.
Before a judge orders a drug test for either parent, the court schedules a hearing. Judges do not order drug tests just because one parent accuses the other parent of drug use. Instead, both sides can argue for or against testing for drug abuse.
A criminal record showing past drug abuse can be used to argue for drug testing. In addition, statements from eyewitnesses, text messages, voice messages, social media posts, and photographs indicating drug use can be used as evidence to convince a judge. Beware that if your ex-partner accuses you of drug use, the court may order drug testing for both parties to resolve the matter and protect the child’s best interest.
What Happens After the Drug Test in a Child Custody Case?
If your child’s other parent passes the drug test, they will likely use the results as “evidence” that you are being vindictive and will do anything to gain full custody. The judge is not likely to believe future accusations you make related to drug use. The judge may question your credibility with other issues because your drug accusations were unfounded.
It is important to discuss the pros and cons of requesting a drug test with your lawyer. For example, it may be best to only demand drug testing when you have credible evidence of drug use.
If your child’s other parent fails a court-ordered drug test, the court may grant you sole custody of your child. However, the court’s decision depends on several factors, such as the type and amount of drugs found in the person’s system and duration of drug use.
The court may decide to allow the parent to enter a drug treatment facility or attend a drug treatment program. Courts prefer to keep both parents in the child’s life whenever possible. Therefore, the judge may postpone the child custody hearing for several months to determine if the parent can overcome their drug problem.
Even if the parent completes drug treatment, the fact that the parent abused drugs factors into the judge’s custody decision. The judge may order supervised visitation. Judges always weigh the child’s best interest in every custody decision. The child’s best interest is the highest priority.
Can a Parent Petition to Remove Child Custody Restrictions
Judges generally do not change custody arrangements unless there is a substantial change in circumstances. If a parent tested positive for drugs and the judge restricted custody and visitation based on drug use, the parent could obtain custody rights and visitation in the future.
However, the petitioning parent has the burden of proving a change in circumstances. Therefore, the parent would need to prove to the court that the parent no longer uses drugs and has been drug-free for a substantial period.
Evidence that can be used to prove a change in circumstances includes:
- The parent passed random drug tests for over a year
- The parent completed a drug treatment program
- The parent is a member of Drug Addicts Anonymous and attends regular meetings
Regardless of which side you are on in this dispute, it is essential to seek legal advice from an experienced New Jersey child custody lawyer.
Contact the Bergen County Family and Divorce Law Firm of Arons & Solomon Divorce Lawyers for more help
Contact the experienced family attorneys at Arons & Solomon Divorce Lawyers today for legal assistance. Visit our law office in Bergen County or give us a call at (201) 487-1199 to schedule an appointment. to schedule a free consultation with our team.