It is well-known that a history of substance abuse can harm child custody proceedings. However, this negative effect is not exclusive to substances prohibited under federal law. Even medical marijuana, CBD products, and other marijuana-derived or pot-like substances can also detrimentally impact your custody claim.
Recreational marijuana use will likely be used against you in court and can be detrimental to your child-custody rights. However, even without smoking marijuana, we have seen positive test results for CBD and THC from CBD products or vapes that have similar negative effects on custody cases in Texas family law cases. Many CBD products are unregulated and aren’t subject to extensive testing. As such, trace levels of THC cross-contamination occur and can lead to a positive test result.
Testing positive for THC could impact your child custody case in several ways. This could be used as evidence to support the argument that you are an unfit parent or can’t provide a stable environment for your child’s welfare and development. In this instance, you will need a skilled Fort Worth child custody attorney to defend you against these accusations and convey the real justification for your result to the court. Even without a drug test, other evidence of marijuana or marijuana-derived product use could still be used against you.
If represented by Youngblood Law, PLLC, your family law attorney will fight aggressively against unfair claims that threaten your child custody arrangements. We will gather evidence and testimony to prove your character to the court and dispute the claims against you. We are a team of experienced and aggressive attorneys who will fight for our client’s rights in child custody cases. We understand the significant implications of family law cases, particularly child custody, and we will work tirelessly to ensure we secure an outcome that is in the best interests of your children.
If you have concerns about how CBD or THC could affect your case, seek legal advice as soon as possible. Contact Youngblood Law, PLLC, at 817-369-3970 to book a consultation with a family law attorney Fort Worth residents trust.
Child Custody In Texas
When parents separate, they can formalize the custody arrangements for their minor children through a child custody case in the Texas family court. Parents and their attorneys can negotiate an arrangement outside of court and, if they both agree, propose this to the Judge for approval. Helping parents reach agreements that work for the children and help avoid conflict is an area in which our Fort Worth family lawyers excel in.
Alternatively, parents can argue for their proposed arrangements in a custody hearing if they cannot agree on custody. In either situation, a Judge will review the proposed custody arrangements to determine whether they are in the child’s or the children’s best interests.
When parents disagree on custody, they will present their proposed terms to a Judge alongside supporting evidence. Often, these proceedings involve parties discrediting the other parent to support their argument that they should have a greater share of or sole custody of the children.
Factors That Can Influence A Child Custody Decision
Under Texas family law, custody decisions must be made in the best interest of the child or children in question. A wide range of factors will influence a Judge’s decision on the best custody arrangement for the child. A Judge will review factors that could affect a parent’s ability to provide care and a safe and healthy environment to support a child’s development, such as medical conditions, the stability of each home, and the ability to meet the child’s needs. Other factors, such as continuity in a child’s life, the location of other family members and friends, education, and the child’s wishes, may also come into play.
Drug or Alcohol Use
Allegations of drug or alcohol abuse have a significant impact on the outcome of a child custody hearing. If a parent can provide a compelling argument to the court that the other parent has a problem with drug or alcohol misuse, this could cause them to lose custody or only be entitled to supervised visitation. A Judge may make this decision if they believe that a parent poses a risk to a child and their development, either by an inability to care for them due to substance abuse or exposing them to dangerous situations, for example.
Drug or alcohol use doesn’t have to be continuous to have a bearing on a custody case. Even proof of occasional use may be sufficient to sway a decision. A parent fighting for custody could argue that a parent who has used drugs, even infrequently, has exhibited periods in which a child is left unsupervised or exposed to inappropriate behavior.
When it comes to the use of controlled substances and alcohol in child custody cases, even seemingly minor use can be harmful to your argument. Judges aim to reach an arrangement that will prioritize the child’s best interests. As such, they will typically err on the side of caution with allegations of dangerous behavior and drug use that impact parenting ability. If a positive drug test further supports accusations against you, the chances of a favorable outcome decrease even further. Even concerns such as high levels of secondhand smoke and how this could affect a child’s development, particularly if they have health issues, can factor into a Judge’s decision.
Even though public opinion seems to be shifting away from demonizing marijuana, Texas courts can decide custody cases mainly based or exclusively on pot use. If both parents are otherwise reasonably equal in their parenting relationship with the child, but one parent used cannabinoids, the court may rule in favor of the non-using parent because the drug use is the only obvious distinguishing factor to consider.
Parental conduct is a significant factor that will influence custody. A history of physical abuse, neglect, or criminal charges will likely impact the decision. However, other less obvious behavior may also be considered, such as a parent’s ability to meet the child’s needs and support their development and parental actions that demonstrate a proper parent-child relationship.
A parent could argue that the other parent is away from home and their children too often or that they prioritize new relationships over their child’s well-being, which could sway custody. Similarly, allowing a child to miss or regularly be late to school, missing healthcare appointments, and lacking routine and boundaries in a child’s life may also influence custody.
Stability is another crucial factor a Judge will consider when determining child custody. Whether there is adequate space in your home for a child, such as their own bedroom, the presence of siblings, the stability of your work situation, and the other occupants of your home can all impact a case. A home life that shows inconsistency and instability will be less favorable to a Judge. How settled you are and if you have a history of regularly moving home can also influence custody.
Can I Be Drug Tested During A Custody Case?
Drug testing in child custody cases in Texas is becoming an increasingly common practice. Generally, a drug test will be ordered by the court in response to an allegation of substance abuse, regardless of the accuracy of the allegation. Typical situations that will result in a court-ordered drug test in a child custody case include if either parent has a history of substance abuse, concerns about the child’s safety, allegations of drug use, or if either parent files a motion requesting a drug screening.
A positive drug test result will almost always count against you in custody proceedings. Regardless of the reason or justification behind the positive result, this can still affect your parental rights. Other evidence of drug use could also be used against you in your custody case. This could also include previous drug offenses, pending misdemeanor possession cases, or the presence of drug paraphernalia in your home.
Ask a Fort Worth Family Lawyer: How Does CBD or THC Affect My Custody Case?
Although CBD and THC originate from cannabinoids, these substances have different effects on the body. They are viewed differently in the eyes of the law. Across America, 50 states now have laws legalizing CBD in varying forms with different restriction levels.
However, the legality or illegality of a substance is not the only factor determining if it could be detrimental to your case. CBD or THC could be ammunition for your ex-partner to argue that you do not deserve custody. For example, although entirely legal over the age of 21, parents who abuse alcohol regularly lose custody if a Judge believes this will impact their ability to provide a safe environment for their children.
CBD, or cannabidiol, is an active ingredient in hemp but does not cause the same high typical for marijuana use. CBD must be combined with THC, the other predominant active ingredient in cannabis, to produce the classic psychoactive effects synonymous with weed use.
Regulations are generally looser for CBD than THC, and CBD is growing in popularity for medical uses such as treating anxiety, insomnia, and pain. The availability of CBD products, such as vapes, gummies, oils, and supplements, is increasing substantially.
However, as CBD is still an active ingredient in marijuana, understandably, concerns arise on how the use of CBD or other marijuana-derived substances may appear on a drug test. In theory, CBD will not show up on a drug test, and most tests only screen for THC, but this doesn’t mean that using CBD products can’t be problematic in a drug screening.
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the primary active ingredient in marijuana. This is the main substance responsible for the psychoactive effects, or high, of cannabis use. THC is more regulated than CBD and is the primary marijuana ingredient screened for in drug testing.
A positive result for THC in a drug test will cause problems in your child custody case. This could be used as supporting evidence to argue that you have a history of drug abuse, that you can’t provide a fit home for a child, or that your having custody would not be in the child’s best interests.
We have seen individuals who claim to have only used CBD products still test positive for THC in a child custody drug test. It is possible that many use the argument of only using CBD as an excuse for a positive result when they have been smoking weed. However, it is also possible that some CBD products contain trace amounts of THC.
THC can be present in various CBD products through contamination during the manufacturing process. Similarly, the way CBD is harvested and refined can also influence the presence of THC. Many CBD products are not FDA-regulated, so they are not subject to the same rigorous testing and ingredient labeling regulations as regulated products.
Pro Tip: Delta 9, while available at local vape shops and other locations appears on lab testing as THC. So just because you can buy Delta 9 gummies locally, does not mean they are safe to use during your custody case.
Other Marijuana-Derived or Pot-like Substances
Non-Weed products are commonly available that can also damage your family law case. Hemp-based products like Delta-8 and Delta-10 are growing in popularity. The older K2 synthetic cannabinoids are still on the market too. While we have written about the dangers of using weed in your family law case, these newer non-weed products can also damage your case. These non-marijuana products create risk in family Court too.
As previously stated, a positive drug test damages your case regardless of the actual cause. Any of these non-pot products that cause a positive drug test yield the same result. Despite these products and others like them being legal in Texas, a positive drug test will still hurt your custody case. And also, as previously stated, even if you never use marijuana, and one of these weed alternatives causes you to test positive, the Court will see no difference in custody decisions. We advise avoiding using any marijuana replacement leading up to and during your custody case.
Even Legal Cannabinoids Can Affect Child Custody Battles
There could be many reasons that your drug test result is positive for THC. This could be due to entirely legal medical marijuana or CBD products containing trace amounts of THC. Regardless of whether the cannabis-derived product you take is legal, it can still be detrimental to your case. Child custody battles are typically tense, emotional, and heated. In some situations, parents will use any weakness to sway proceedings in their favor.
A positive drug test result does not show the reason behind the result, only that the presence of THC is detectable. As such, it becomes a case of arguing your innocence to the court, but either way, this can put you at a disadvantage compared to the other parent.
In addition, it is essential to remember that a positive drug test is not the only evidence of drug use that can be used against you. Even if you pass a drug test, your child’s parent and legal team could use other evidence to prove your use of CBD products or marijuana. If they can argue to the court that this substance use impacts your ability to parent and provide a stable home, this could still reduce your chances of a successful custody result.
Contact the Child Custody Lawyer Fort Worth Families Recommend!
A custody battle is every parent’s worst nightmare. As parents fight for custody of their children through the court, countless accusations can be used as ammunition against you to affect the outcome. Regardless of the legality, we strongly recommend ceasing using marijuana derivatives or similar weed-like products if you are involved in custody proceedings or looking to start a case.
Unfortunately, THC could appear on a drug test even after you stop using the product. If you have concerns that you might fail a drug test in your custody case, securing legal representation as soon as possible is essential. At Youngblood Law, PLLC, we have experience helping clients get clean and show the court that drug use is a thing of the past.
Similarly, if you have already failed a drug test for THC, you will need an experienced family lawyer to fight your case in court. Even with an entirely justifiable reason for failing a test, this can be manipulated and used against you. Your Fort Worth child custody attorney must develop a compelling and well-evidenced argument to the court to argue that should not affect your child’s custody.
The family law attorneys at Youngblood Law, PLLC, are passionate about fighting for our clients in child custody cases in Texas. We understand the enormous implications of child custody battles. We will draw upon our extensive experience, skill, and knowledge to improve your chances of a successful outcome.
Even legal marijuana use or other products such as CBD gummies or vapes could cost you your child custody rights. You will need aggressive and skilled representation to protect your parental rights and secure the best outcome for you and your children.
If you are facing a child custody case involving CBD or THC, speak to a Youngblood Law PLLC attorney as soon as possible.
Call our team at 817-369-3970 to book a consultation and learn how we can help you.