As of March 2016, approximately 2.6 million people use medical marijuana. While it can be a beneficial treatment for a variety of health issues, it can also cause trouble for users in other parts of their lives. In particular, it can make it difficult for you to win custody of your children if you are getting a divorce. Here are two factors the court considers when a parent's marijuana use is brought up in family court.
What the Parent Uses the Drug For
Despite the overwhelming support of marijuana legalization, there is still a stigma that surrounds its use. Since marijuana is considered illegal by the federal government even though it may be legal in an individual state, judges tend to take a conservative view about its use, especially when children are around a user.
However, the judge may be more understanding if you are using the drug to treat a medical condition rather than for personal enjoyment. For instance, if you're smoking marijuana to treat chronic pain, the judge may not view your cannabis use as negatively as he or she would if the individual suspected you were using the drug recreationally.
It's a good idea to discuss your medical issues in court and provide the judge with records proving your condition.
How the Parent Handles the Drug
Another thing that can impact whether or not the judge will feel comfortable awarding you partial or full custody is how you handle the drug. The judge will want to ensure you're growing, storing, and using the drug in a responsible way.
For instance, many states require medical marijuana patients to store cannabis plants in a locked room that's only accessible by the card holder. If you grow marijuana, the judge will likely want proof that you are obeying the requirements set forth by state law.
The judge will also look at how and when you're consuming cannabis. The judge may not think too much of the issue if you're only using the drug at night before going to bed or on days when you don't have the kids. However, he or she may be concerned if you're using the drug during the daytime when you're supervising your kids.
Be prepared to discuss your marijuana use and provide evidence you're obeying the law (e.g. pictures of the locked room).
Judges consider other factors when determining whether a parent who uses marijuana should receive custody of his or her children. It's best to consult with a divorce attorney who can provide sound advice on the best way to handle the case.
Hello, I'm Phillip Kerr and I just love the legal profession and courtroom drama. Have you ever watched judge shows on TV? I know that these shows are not an accurate representation of the courtroom, but there is something you may have noticed. Some individuals come into the courtroom well-dressed, articulate, respectful and with the knowledge and documents necessary to support a case, while others come unprepared, slovenly dressed and appear as if they do not have a care in the world. How you present yourself and the knowledge that you have of the law will have an impact on how you are treated, even if you have legal representation. This blog is designed to assist those who are going to trial in doing just that.