Substance abuse is a severe problem in the United States. Tragically, many children live in homes with a parent who is addicted to drugs. Courts seek to protect children when they are made aware that a parent has a substance abuse problem.

If you believe your child’s other parent is using drugs, you can request a drug test in your child custody case. The court does not generally order drug tests in custody cases. However, when a parent makes the court aware of the situation, judges are within their jurisdiction to require drug tests.

How Can I Get a Drug Test Order in My Child Custody Case?

Talk to your Lawrenceville child custody lawyer immediately. Make your attorney aware of your suspicions. If you have evidence of drug abuse, give that evidence to your lawyer.

Your attorney will file a motion with the court requesting an order for a drug test. The court will likely schedule a hearing and notify your ex-partner. The judge will listen to both parties’ arguments at the hearing.

Evidence that you might present to support your request for a drug test in a child custody case includes, but is not limited to:

  • A history of drug abuse, including stays in mandatory or voluntary treatment facilities
  • The parent’s criminal record showing one or more arrests for drug-related offenses
  • Text messages, emails, photographs, and social media posts
  • Testimony from eyewitnesses who saw the parent using illegal substances 

If the judge orders a drug test, the test might include a urine, blood, or hair test, depending on the circumstances and court standards. The judge could test one or both parents. Sometimes, a judge could order the child to be drug tested to rule out drug exposure.

What Happens in a Custody Case if a Parent Fails a Drug Test?

When a parent fails a drug test, the judge is reluctant to grant custody to that parent. A parent who uses illegal drugs can be unpredictable. They may lack the ability to make decisions in the best interest of their child. 

Furthermore, a drug-addicted parent could place the child at risk of harm. For example, the parent may leave the child unsupervised, take the child to a drug deal, or expose the child to drugs. 

Also, the parent might have individuals around the child who also use drugs. Drug abuse can lead to other criminal activity, which could harm the child.

Therefore, the judge may grant full custody to the parent who is not using drugs. However, the court could deny visitation, depending on the severity of the circumstances.

Instead of denying visitation, the judge might order supervised visitation. Supervised visitation generally occurs at a neutral location. A third party supervises the parent and child during the entire visitation period.

Other Consequences of Failing a Drug Test During a Child Custody Case

The judge could order the parent who failed the drug test to attend drug treatment classes. The court can make these classes mandatory as part of the visitation order. The court could also order the parent to attend and complete a series of parenting classes.

In addition to the above, the court could require the parent to repeat drug tests. The drug tests could be random or at specific intervals. Passing the drug tests might be mandatory to continue supervised visitation.

Can a Parent Who Fails a Drug Test Regain Child Custody or Visitation?

The court decides child custody cases based on the child’s best interest. Therefore, the judge needs to be convinced that the parent is drug-free and it is in the best interest of the child to be with the parent. However, a past drug history could negatively impact a parent’s chance of receiving custody.

Furthermore, the court might want to see continued progress and clean drug tests before ordering unsupervised visitation. The outcome depends on the facts and circumstances of the case. Each case is decided based on the unique factors affecting the best interest of the child.

Fighting for Child Custody in Lawrenceville, GA

Georgia child custody laws grant parents physical and/or legal custody. Where the child lives determines physical custody. Legal custody is the right to make decisions for the child. 

Because it is generally in the child’s best interest to have a close relationship with both parents, judges often prefer joint custody. Joint custody allows both parents to actively participate in a child’s life.

However, there could be circumstances that warrant primary or sole custody, such as drug use. Talk with a Lawrenceville child custody attorney if you are concerned for your child’s safety and welfare. A lawyer will evaluate your case, explain the law, and discuss options for obtaining custody of your child.

Contact the Child Custody Lawyers at Crystal Wright Law To Get Legal Assistance Today

To learn more and get the help you deserve, call our divorce & family law firm at (404) 594-2143 or reach out to Crystal Wright Law online by visiting our contact us page.
You can also visit our law firm at 368 W Pike St STE 201, Lawrenceville, GA 30046.