Many states have legalized marijuana use for recreational and medical purposes. For example, New Mexico allows adults over 21 to possess a little marijuana for personal use. The state also allows the medical use of marijuana. However, using marijuana can still affect your child custody case. Below is an overview of the issues surrounding marijuana and child custody.
Reason for Use Is Irrelevant
The family court doesn’t care whether you use marijuana recreationally or medicinally. The main issue is marijuana’s use on the child’s welfare. After all, recreational users of marijuana can be responsible, and medical users of marijuana can be irresponsible.
The Judge Has Some Discretion
Family law issues, specifically child custody deliberations, are not always cut and dry. The law provides a guide that family courts or judges should follow. However, the law leaves some room for the judge to act as they deem fit. After all, the government expects family courts to review each case holistically.
As such, the judges have some discretion that might determine your case’s direction. For example, a judge who frowns upon marijuana use might not be sympathetic to your case if you want child custody and use marijuana.
Stereotyping is Real
You should also know that even though public views of marijuana use have changed over the years, some level of stereotyping still exists. Many people use marijuana, either medically or recreationally, but still lead functional lives, take care of their kids, and are productive members of society. However, a section of the public still confuses marijuana use with abuse.
Even your spouse might hold the wrong views on your marijuana use. They might use your use of the substance to deny you custody. Even if your spouse ultimately fails with their plan, their accusations might cost you money and resources in terms of litigation.
Use Does Not Solely Determine Child Custody
The good news is that marijuana use won’t be the only factor the judge will use to determine your child custody issue. Child custody determination depends on what is best for the child’s welfare. Other factors that matter include:
- Your living arrangements
- Whether you can take care of the child
- The strength of your relationship with the child
- The child’s wishes, if they are old enough to express them
Thus, you shouldn’t worry much if you use marijuana responsibly and don’t have other lifestyle factors that might cast you as an unfit parent. Talk to your attorney about ways to strengthen your child custody petition.
The Issue Is Fluid
Criminal courts seem to work faster than family law courts on issues to do with medical or recreational marijuana use. However, the situation is changing, both in the public’s eyes and in the judicial system. Thus, what is true today won’t necessarily be true tomorrow. Don’t base your case on hearsay; consult a lawyer who understands the latest legal position on the issue.
You Can Minimize Any Effects on Your Case
The good news is that you can minimize the effect of marijuana use on your child custody case. The following tips should help:
- Don’t use marijuana in the child’s presence
- Don’t drive with marijuana in your system, especially if you have a child passenger
- Keep marijuana and related paraphernalia out of the child’s reach
Your lawyer will assess your circumstances and advise you on how to approach your case.
Child custody is one of the most contentious issues between non-married or divorcing parents. Prepare your case well to boost your chances of success. Contact the Law Offices of Lynda Latta, LLC to review your case and help you prepare for the next steps. You can rely on our decades of experience and desire to help our clients.