Will a drug conviction hurt my chances of getting custody?

Are you heading for a divorce with concerns about child custody? If you are facing the possibility of a drug conviction or have a past such conviction, you probably fear that it will impact your ability to be an active parent. Will you lose all your parental rights? Or will you get visitation instead of joint custody?

These questions can be stressful and overwhelming. Here is some information on how drug crimes may affect the outcome of your custody case. 

Court involvement and response

If you have a substance abuse problem, your spouse may report you to the court, causing the court to look into your parenting abilities. Prior convictions may also be something the court considers. The goal of the family court is to come up with a custody arrangement that benefits your child. Therefore, any issues that may put your child at risk are important to the court.

The court may respond in a variety of ways depending on the unique circumstances. For example, if you have a marijuana possession charge on your criminal record from several years ago, it might not have much of an impact. However, an ongoing conviction or drug problem may have more of an influence. The court may order you to take a drug test. Depending on the results, the court may decide to give your spouse sole physical custody while only giving you visitation. If a drug problem severely impacts your parenting abilities, the visitation may be supervised or there could be an even greater curtailing of parental rights.

What you can do

The family court takes drug abuse seriously. If you are facing drug charges, you should get help from attorney to understand what avenues you may have for trying to reduce your charges or get them thrown out. You also may want an attorney's guidance on navigating custody matters.

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