• Drug Testing and Child Custody
  • October 23, 2017
  • Drug abuse allegations are serious, especially during an ongoing custody dispute. If a parent is concerned that their former spouse is abusing drugs, they should address their concerns with the courts. Once accusations of drug abuse surfaces, the court will takes steps to protect children and help the user with rehabilitation.

    Concerned parents must first file a motion with the court system. The motion creates a formal complaint that remains in the system. Once a motion is filed, the judge will schedule a hearing. During the hearing, the judge will listen to both parents to determine if a drug test is necessary. The accuser can submit proof in the form of photographs or text messages to show drug usage or admission of abuse. One or both parents will undergo a court-ordered drug test under the discretion of a judge.

    Oftentimes, a judge will order a drug test if one or both parents have a history of drug abuse or criminal activity. Courts examine both parents’ criminal background during custody proceedings. Temporary custody may be granted to the first parent that petitions the courts. Parents may use drug abuse as a reason to file an emergency custody order.

    Drug Testing

    There are three types of drug tests that the court-system uses: urinalysis, blood (ethanol), or hair follicle testing. For the urinalysis, patients urinate into a sterile cup during a urine test. The urine is tested by lab professionals for marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines, opiates, MDMA, barbiturates, and other drugs. Urinalysis can detect drugs in the system for up to 60 days after use.

    Hair follicle drug tests use up to 1.5 inches of hair to screen drug use in a patient. A few strands of hair are plucked from the scalp of a patient and sent to a lab for testing. Screens are able to detect marijuana, opiate, cocaine, amphetamine, methamphetamine, and PCP usage within the last 90 days. Blood alcohol (BAC/ethanol) tests can detect alcohol within the system for a few days. A sample of saliva or urine is collected from the patient and sent to a lab for testing. Urinalysis can also be used to measure blood-alcohol levels.

    Results of the Drug Testing

    If the accused parent passes the test, then the courts will take the results into consideration when reviewing the case. A clean drug test does not mean the accuser was lying, but it does make the accused look more favorable in the eyes of the court. Lying about drug abuse is a serious accusation and if the courts believe the motion is unfounded, the judge will not order a drug test.

    Parents that fail a drug test face serious repercussions. They can lose custody of the child, be placed on supervised visitation, and may be ordered to undergo random drug tests. Judges will typically order the individual to take drug and alcohol classes, as well as parenting classes. Upon completion of these classes, the courts may reinstate some of the parent’s rights. Usually, a judge orders a second drug test 60 to 90 days after the first failed drug test. Depending on the results of the second test, the parent will lose or receive additional rights.

    Collingswood DCCP Lawyers at Kearney, Burns & Martone Help You With Your Child Custody Dispute

    If you suspect your former spouse is abusing drugs, or they have accused you of abusing drugs, the law offices of Kearney, Burns & Martone can help. Call us today at (856) 547-7733 to schedule a consultation with a dedicated and compassionate Collingswood DCCP lawyer or contact us online. Our office is located in Haddon Heights, New Jersey and we serve individuals and families throughout South Jersey.