This is the next article in my series on how the parental use of marijuana can impact Arkansas child custody cases. Our last article discussed how courts may view the use of medical marijuana. If a parent is safely using a prescribed drug, and is not endangering the child, then a Court may be less likely to be concerned about the situation. The Court, however, may act if a parent is abusing their prescription and putting the child in danger. If you are in such a situation then it is important that you discuss the matter with a family law attorney as soon as possible. In this article we will discuss how the illegal use of pot can impact family law cases. Contact our office today to speak with a Little Rock lawyer if you need assistance.
The use of marijuana without a prescription is a misdemeanor in the state of Arkansas. How the Family Court will view the use of the drug will, however, depend on the circumstances. This is due to the fact that the Court’s concern will always be protecting the best interests of the child. If a parent is using the drug illegally, but the child is not being impacted, then the Court may be less likely to act. By contrast, if a child is struggling then a judge may be more likely to act. The situations in which a court may or may not be concerned are best explained by way of example.
Suppose a parent occasionally uses marijuana outside of the presence of the child and does not transport the child while under the influence. Now suppose that the child is getting good grades in school, is not exhibiting behavioral problems, and is otherwise “on the right path.” If the non-custodial parent files a request to change custody due to the custodial parent’s marijuana use then, quite often, a court will not change custody. This is due to the fact that the child is doing well. The Court may, however, require the custodial parent to take a drug test. If the test does show the use of marijuana, then the Court may tell the custodial parent to refrain from further use. A status check may be scheduled at which the parent will take another drug test. It is, again, important to remember that how the Court will rule is going to depend on the specific facts of the case.
Now suppose that a parent is regularly stoned while caring for the child. Also, suppose that the parent regularly drives the child places while impaired and that the child is struggling in school. Under this scenario, it is much more likely that the Court will view the situation as one where the custodial parent is not adequately supervising the child. Moreover, the Court will be concerned for the child’s safety given that the parent is operating a vehicle, while the child is a passenger, in an impaired state. Depending on the overall facts of the case, a judge in this situation may be much more likely to change custody in favor of the other parent. Also, the Court may put an order in place stating that the offending parent is not to drive with the child until they can demonstrate to the Court that they are drug free.
Contact our Little Rock child custody lawyers today if you are concerned about how parental marijuana use is impacting your child. Our attorney will take the time to listen to the facts of your situation and will give you an honest opinion as to what he believes is your best course of action. Our office takes pride in the level of service we provide to our community and we are ready to assist you. We also handle matters in Fayetteville, Fort Smith, Springdale, Jonesboro, North Little Rock, Conway, Rogers, Pine Bluff, and throughout the rest of Arkansas.