Divorcing Parents – Avoid Alcohol Abuse, Illegal Drugs, or Excessive Prescription Drug Use #DivorceAttorney


If you as a parent have filed for divorce or are seeking sole or equal decision making of your minor children, the court must decide what is in the child’s best interests, if you and your spouse cannot agree.

If your spouse alleges you abuse alcohol or drugs, most likely the court will require you to be drug tested. Usually this is a urine test but could also include a hair follicle test. Hair follicle testing can detect drug usage as far back as 90 days, whereas a urine test only detects drugs in the past week or so. If you are ordered to do a hair follicle test and you shave your head or body hair it will be impossible to test and it will look like you have something to hide! At least 1 ½ inches in length is required for testing purposes.

If you have used drugs in the past few days you could test positive in the urine test and negative in the hair follicle test. Recently we have been seeing parents who abuse opiates and prescription pain medication, like vicodin or percocet. Methamphetamine is also commonly detected. Even if you take a diet weight loss medication, it could show positive for amphetamine. Alcohol and marijuana are also detectable in a urine test.

So if you are a parent, whether divorcing or not, if you use:

  • alcohol
  • marijuana
  • amphetamines
  • barbiturates
  • benzodiazepines
  • cocaine
  • opiates
  • phencyclidine, or
  • propoxyphene

and your fitness to have custody of your children is questioned, use of any of these drugs can trigger a loss of legal or physical custody. Also, if you test positive the court may require you to test randomly for several months until you are free and clean of drugs in your system.

My advice:

  • Avoid all drug use unless it is prescribed by a physician and you take it as prescribed.
  • Never drink and drive.
  • Never abuse drugs and drive.

Several states have legalized marijuana use, but if you are trying to keep custody of your children, being under the influence of legal marijuana is not a great defense when it comes to the “Best Interests” of your child.

We are experienced divorce attorneys in Mesa, AZ, and we can help you. Call us if you have any questions whether it is for family law, criminal defense, or any other legal situation you may be facing.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Rowley Chapman & Barney, Ltd. | Attorney Advertising

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