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Drug Tests and Child Custody

If your spouse has a substance abuse problem, you will need a way to keep your children safe in this potentially dangerous situation and to prevent the possibility of abuse or neglect. To protect your children, you can ask the court to require your spouse to take a drug test during your divorce case. The court will always consider the best interests of the children to be the top priority and do what is necessary to ensure those interests are not jeopardized.

Courts are generally in favor of keeping children of divorce in contact with both parents and, as such, tend to prefer to award joint physical and legal custody during a divorce. However, while this situation is thought of as ideal, if one parent is being accused of a substance abuse problem, the court may not be so eager to award that parent custodial rights. Any drug addiction or dependency issues, if properly brought to the court’s attention, will be considered while the court is making custody determinations.

Your Drug Test Request

Even if you believe that your spouse has an issue with drugs that does not mean the court will always automatically order a drug test. The fact is that divorces can be difficult, even more so when children are involved, and it could prompt parents to act out of fear or vengeance. It is not unheard of for parents to make false accusations about one another to obtain sole custody.

Evidence that may be helpful in the court ordering a drug test include:

  • A spouse’s previous drug-related criminal activity
  • A spouse’s documented history of drug use
  • Witness testimony
  • Affidavits from social workers
  • Medical records

If the court believes that there is enough proof to show that your spouse has a problem with habitual or continual use of drugs or alcohol, an order may be granted for the accused parent to take a drug test.

Drug Test Results

For parents who are ordered to take a drug test, certain protections are afforded to them, which include:

  • Confidentiality of test results: The court may enter an order that the drug test shall not be released by the parties to anyone else.