Should You Request a Drug Test Regarding Your Custody Hearing?
Posted on: November 17, 2017
If you’re attempting to get custody of your child and you know that their other parent uses drugs or alcohol, then you already know how serious this can be. It can affect their ability to provide the financial and emotional your child needs, and can create unsafe living conditions. In the state of California, if you have reason to believe that your child’s other parent is using drugs, then you can request that the court order them to take a drug test.
You must be able to defend your request
You can’t simply walk into a court room, claim you believe the other parent is using drugs, and expect the judge to order a drug test. Instead, you will need to provide the court with a preponderance of the evidence. This means that you don’t have to prove your case beyond a shadow of a doubt, but must give the judge good reason to believe that it’s more likely the other parent is using drugs than that they aren’t.
The best way to gather this evidence is by contacting a family law attorney and asking for help. At Kendall Gkikas & Mitchell, LLP, we have worked on many similar cases and know what the courts will require and how to get it. Some of the evidence that may help your case include if the other parent has a criminal record related to drugs, if they have a documented history of drug use, or if they have medical records that show they used to use drugs.
You can also gather affidavits from social works and testimony from various witnesses. If the court believes that your charges are likely then they can require the other parent to submit to a drug test before proceeding with a custody case.
The results of the drug test may not do what you expect
If the judge decides that a drug test is reasonable then they must order the least intrusive method of testing that’s available. When the judge gets the results, there is a very narrow way in which those results can be used. In short, the law states that a positive drug test in and of itself can’t automatically result in a custody decision against the person tested.
Instead, the judge will use the results and all other relevant information to make their decision. The law also ensures that the drug test results are confidential and must be sealed, that they can only be used in that particular child custody case and not in other matters, whether criminal or civil, and that if a parent gets a positive result, they can challenge it.
In short, having a co-parent drug tested isn’t as cut and dry as you may think. That said, at Kendall Gkikas & Mitchell, LLP, we believe that the more information a judge has about the realities of your co-parent’s living situations, the better able they will be to provide a ruling that prioritizes the child’s safety and well-being. We are here to help. All you need to do is call us at 909-482-1422 to get started.