In Houston child custody cases, the court acts in the best interests of the child. That means the court must determine whether each parent is fit to care for their children. If a parent is accused of drug abuse, or has a history of drug abuse, the court will order a drug test.
To learn more about court ordered drug testing in child custody cases, contact The Alsandor Law Firm. We have extensive experience working with both parents who are seeking custody and who need to defend themselves against accusations. Call today for help with your case.
When Is a Drug Test Ordered in a Child Custody Case?
Court ordered drug testing in child custody cases usually occurs when a judge believes that one or both parents may be using drugs. One parent may also file a motion requesting a drug test of the other parent. While a drug test is supposed to help determine what is best for the child, the accused parent may fight the motion tooth and nail, because it can lead to a loss of custody rights. A positive drug test may lead to loss of full or partial custody or even changes in visitation.
Surprise Drug Testing in Texas Child Custody Cases
Often, a drug test will be requested on the day of a hearing in order to surprise the person who is giving the sample. Courts are well aware of people who cheat drug tests and avoid testing. A surprise drug test is not only common, but it is legal in a case where the judge is trying to determine what is best for the children involved.
What Drug Tests Does the Court Use?
Texas courts use tests that evaluate body fluids or dead cells for drugs or related chemicals. The following types of drug tests may be used:
- Saliva – The subject’s spit may be analyzed for drugs or related chemicals. These are typically accurate because they are hard to tamper with and there is a short detection period.
- Urine – Perhaps one of the most common drug tests, urine tests may be used to analyze drug use over the past few days. However, some substances and even foods can make these tests inaccurate. Despite this, false positives are rare.
- Hair – Drugs and related chemicals can be detected in hair for a long period of time. However, these tests are generally expensive. They can show a pattern of use.
- Nail Clippings – These tests show pattern of use over time and can be extremely accurate.
Positive Test Results in Child Custody Cases
Although a positive test result can impact child custody and visitation, it’s not always the end of the road. A parent may appeal the findings of a drug test or request to be retested at a later date. However, if the drug test is found to be accurate, then the judge will not likely grant full custody to the parent who tested positive.
Parental drug use can expose children to illegal drugs, which could in turn set the children up for a negative future. It may also increase the risk of neglect while the parent is preoccupied with drug use. Drug use is often associated with a dangerous home environment, where negative situations and people may be present. Additionally, drug use is often associated with other criminal activity. The judge will want the children to avoid these situations if at all possible.
Responding to a Request for a Drug Test
If one parent filed a motion requesting court ordered drug testing in child custody cases, then the other parent who is the subject of the drug testing request should respond. If your ex has filed a motion against you, it’s important that you respond immediately to such a motion.
You should state why there are no compelling reasons to continue with a drug test. The judge may consider both the motion and the response. In some cases, the judge may feel it is necessary. In other situations, the judge may feel the motioning parent is simply trying to unnecessarily pressure the responding parent. An attorney can help you file a motion and a response when a drug test is being discussed in a child custody case.
Testing Positive for Pot in a Child Custody Case
Although marijuana is legal in many states, it is still illegal in Texas and according to federal law. Thus, a Texas judge will not view a positive drug test positively, even if it is only positive for pot. Your best option if you test positive for pot is to enter a treatment program and try to maintain partial custody or visitation of your children. Once you have been clean for a period of time, you may be able to regain some of your rights.
Contact a Houston Child Custody Lawyer Today
Dealing with court ordered drug testing in child custody cases is complex and confusing. To learn more, speak to a Houston TX child custody lawyer. We can help you evaluate your options. Call The Alsandor Law Firm today.