Handling Orange County Child Custody Cases Which Involve A Parent's Use Of Marijuana

This is the fifth post in our series on the handling of Orange County, California child custody cases which involve drug abuse. Our last article discussed how Courts deal with parents who abuse hard drugs such as methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine, etc. It is important to understand that Judges will draw harsh lines in such circumstances. In this post we will discuss how the Court may proceed if a parent is using marijuana. If you believe that your child’s other parent is unable to care for your little one, due to their use or abuse of marijuana, then it is important that you contact a child custody attorney as soon as possible.

Orange County Family Court Judges will take marijuana use very seriously

America’s attitude towards marijuana is changing. Many states, including California, have legalized the drug for medical use. Ours is also one of many states which will be voting on recreational legalization in November of 2016. It is important to understand, however, that the legalization of weed has done little to change how its use impacts child custody cases. The primary concern of a Family Court Judge will always the best interests, safety, and well-being of children. If a parent is impaired then they are considered to be unable to meet a child’s needs, to care for a child, and to adequately protect their safety. In other words, if a parent’s marijuana use in interfering with their ability to care for the child then a Judge may be willing to change child custody.

Courts will always expect a parent to exercise discretion when they are charged with taking care of their kids. While alcohol may be legal, a Court would quickly change custody if a parent was regularly intoxicated around the child, drove drunk with the child, or engaged in other drunken behavior which was detrimental to the child. The same is true about marijuana, even if the using parent is in legal possession of the drug. If a mother or father is found to be regularly stoned while caring for their child, to be operating a vehicle while in such a state, or other such behavior then the Judge will likely consider granting the other parent primary custody. It is important to understand that even though the using parent may consider it to be “just a little weed,” an Orange County Court may have a very different opinion.

How Orange County Family Courts treat marijuana will depend on the specific facts of a case

How the Court will react to a parent’s marijuana use will depend on the specific facts of the case. A parent who is in illegal possession of the drug will have a harder time with the Judge then one who legally possesses it. Also, factors such as frequency of use, whether the child is present, and how it is impacting other aspects of life are issues a Court will consider. If you are concerned about your child’s other parent using marijuana then contact our Orange County child custody lawyers today. We service Aliso Viejo, Anaheim, Buena Park, Costa Mesa, Dana Point, Fountain Valley, Fullerton, Garden Grove, Huntington Beach, Irvine, La Habra, Ladera Ranch, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel, Lake Forest, Mission Viejo, Newport Beach, Orange, Placentia, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano, Santa Ana, Tustin, Westminster, and Yorba Linda.

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