When the court or a party suspects substance misuse or abuse by a party in a custody dispute, either party can file a motion requesting drug testing. Also, the judge has the authority to enter an order requiring drug testing on its own motion.
If drug abuse is an issue in your child custody case, you will not want to handle a battle like this on your own, particularly if the other side has a lawyer. A North Carolina family law firm can protect your legal rights and argue your side of the dispute.
Are Drug Tests Routine in Child Custody Battles?
No. There must be some believable evidence of substance abuse for the court to order drug testing in a family law matter. The judge can enter an order compelling one or both parties to submit to drug testing. The order can be in response to a motion filed by one of the parties or by the court on its own volition.
What Does Drug Testing Have to Do with Custody Disputes?
Merely taking a legal medication as prescribed usually does not affect a person’s ability to parent. In fact, taking care of one’s health is a responsible thing that can benefit the child.
Drugs can become an issue when they get abused or misused. When deciding which parent will have custody, whether they will share custody, and the terms of custody and visitation, the judge needs essential information about who will provide the better home life for the child.
Sometimes, both parents function at about the same level on parenting issues. In some other situations, however, one parent might be addicted to street drugs like meth or heroin or prescription drugs like opioid painkillers.
What Is the Process for Drug Testing in a Custody Case?
First, there must be a motion. Courts do not automatically order people to get drug testing. Upon the motion of the court or either party, the judge can enter an order requiring one or both parties to go to a specific laboratory or testing facility by a certain date and submit to drug testing by providing a sample of their urine, hair, blood, sweat, or saliva.
Some courts can call a technician to come directly to the courtroom and escort the party in question to a private room to collect the sample. The lab will test the sample for a panel of different substances and send the results to the attorneys or the court.
How Do Judges Respond to Allegations of Drug Use?
Family law judges are used to the mud-slinging that happens often with divorce cases and child custody battles. Allegations of drug use could impact a person’s life, so judges will need to be convinced that the request for drug testing is not merely a nasty divorce tactic. Some judges handle this situation by requiring both parties to have drug testing.
If either party’s drug test results come back positive, the judge will analyze the severity of the problem and how the type and amount of substance used could affect a person’s ability to parent. The most important standard that controls all North Carolina child custody cases is that the judge must act in the best interests of the child. A North Carolina family law attorney can provide legal advice in your divorce or custody case. For legal help contact our office today, we offer a free consultation.