Child custody cases can be emotionally draining for both parents and children. As a parent, you want to make sure the court makes the best decision for your children. One issue that can significantly impact a court’s decision is the abuse of controlled substances, especially drugs. If one parent has a drug abuse problem, then the court needs to know and must take it into consideration when making its final decision. If the court suspects a parent has a drug problem, it can order that parent to undergo urine drug testing.
Family Code Section Allows Drug Testing In Custody Cases
Family Code Section 3041.5 is the direct authority for a court’s ability to order drug testing. Under this code section, the family court may order drug or alcohol testing if it determines by a preponderance of the evidence that a parent engages in habitual, frequent, or continual use of such substances.
How to Prove Drug or Alcohol Use
If you suspect that your ex-spouse is using drugs, you need to immediately discuss this important fact with your Central Valley child custody attorney. Your attorney will need to look at the facts surrounding your specific case and prove to the court that your ex-spouse is a habitual, frequent, and continual user of drugs and/or alcohol. Only then, will the court be able to force your ex-spouse to undergo drug testing.
The most effective way to prove the use of drugs is to show that your ex-spouse was convicted within the last 5 years for the illegal use or possession of a controlled substance. If there is no criminal conviction, it may be harder to prove this. However, your child custody lawyer may be able to prove this in another way, depending on the facts of your case.
Limitations to Drug Testing
Although the law allows California family courts to order drug testing, it must be done in the least intrusive method possible. This generally includes only urine testing. However, the court may order a hair follicle drug test, if the other side willingly submits to it. Deborah M. v Superior Court (2005) 128 CA4th 1181.
Moreover, it is important to note that the court must keep the drug testing confidential and seal the ultimate results. This means that the test result can only be used in the family law proceeding. If the other party releases the results, they could face consequences for violating that party’s privacy.
Call an Experienced Central Valley Family Law Attorney
For more information or to schedule a complimentary consultation with Central Valley family law attorney Gurjit Srai, please call (209) 323-5558 or (559) 449-1447, or complete our online form.