A divorce can be a long, drawn out battle, especially if it involves children and custody issues. One major concern that comes up in situations where child custody is at issue, is where one parent has some sort of relationship to drugs and/or drug abuse. A common question in these types of cases is whether a family court can order drug testing of the other parent. The answer to this question is yes. However, the extent of drug testing is not something that most individuals are happy with.
The Law On Drug Testing
California Family Code Section 3041.5 states that 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. The big issue here that most Central Valley family law attorneys have to deal with is proving “habitual, frequent, and continual use.”
The most effective way to prove that your ex-spouse frequently, habitually and continually uses drugs would be a conviction of the possession of a controlled substance within the last 5 years. If there is no criminal conviction, it is harder to prove this. Moreover, the family court is obligated to order the least intrusive method for testing for drug abuse. This means that under the family code, the court can only issue the individual to submit a urine test. Deborah M. V. Superior Court (205) 128 CA4th 1181. You should also know that any drug testing that the court orders will be confidential and the results will be sealed.
What To Do If You Suspect Your Ex-Spouse Has a Drug Problem
If you suspect that your ex-spouse has a substance abuse problem and has been “flying under the radar,” you need to take some important steps to protect your child while in their custody:
- Have a frank discussion with your spouse – even though they will most likely deny it, this will put them on notice that you are aware of it.
- Seek immediate legal attention.
- Make sure to keep a written record of everything that happens related to your ex’s drug abuse problem.
- Notify your children’s schools, daycare providers, athletic coaches and other adult your children spend time with that your ex-spouse is not allowed to take your children without your permission.
- Ask the court to alter the custody rights of your children.
Call an Experienced Central Valley Family Attorney
If you family law issue, it is important that you have a knowledgeable attorney fighting for your rights. For more information or to schedule a complimentary consultation with a Central Valley family law attorney, please call Gurjit Srai (209) 323-5558 or (559) 449-1447, or complete our online form.