Marijuana’s Impact On Divorce & Child Custody

Marijuana is a drug of contradictions, and this is one of the root causes of why there tends to be a significant amount of confusion around its use and impact on your life. On a federal level, it remains a Schedule I controlled substance, meaning it has no medicinal value and a high potential for abuse. That said, at the time of this publication, thirty-eight states, four U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia have legalized it for medicinal use. Twenty states and the District of Columbia allow it to be used recreationally. 

Here in New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill on March 31, 2021, that allowed people to use and sell cannabis under specific conditions. Although this article is not directly about the finer details of this legislation, it addresses the confusion the previously mentioned contradictions create. 

Can I Lose My Children For Doing Something Legal?

If that is your question, an attorney would likely have some additional ones of our own before they could answer it. The details regarding how it was being used are very important. Suppose you have a legal amount of it and use it occasionally. In that case, it is doubtful that it could impact your divorce or your ability to obtain custody of your children. (Several other factors need to be considered before coming to a conclusion, but legal marijuana use shouldn’t prevent you from seeking custody.) 

This changes when you use legal drugs illegally or dangerously. Although alcohol is legal at both a state and federal level, abusing it can surface during a family law dispute. For example, if you have been charged with a DWAI (Driving While Ability Impaired), your spouse may use it to imply that you have a substance abuse issue. Granted, your attorney can defend you from these accusations when they are untrue, but it could be a hurdle to cross.

If you are caught driving intoxicated with your children in the car, this is a separate issue. In New York, it is an automatic felony if you drive drunk while someone 15 or younger is in the vehicle. Police officers do not possess the THC equivalent of a breathalyzer, but they can pull you over for swerving or driving erratically to give you a field sobriety test. Even if you were using marijuana for medical reasons, you can still be charged with a DWAI. 

When Should I Contact an Attorney?

You should contact legal counsel when you realize you are getting divorced. Forming the relationship early allows you to act confidently, giving you a person to consult with when issues arise. In today’s discussion, what happens with your former spouse claiming to law enforcement officers or social services that you endanger your children because you use marijuana? If Child Protective Services requests to enter your house, do you have to let them in? No, you do not, and this is the type of scenario that requires you to have legal counsel. They will advise you on how to proceed to ensure your rights are protected. 

The conversation around marijuana has changed, and not everyone views it similarly. If you have any further questions about divorce or child custody, schedule a consultation so we can discuss them.

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Andrea L. Gamalski Attorneys at Law

Andrea L. Gamalski understands how important it is to have a compassionate and empathetic family law attorney who fights hard for their clients in the courtroom–mainly because she’s been one of these clients herself.

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