Many Illinois parents wonder if their marijuana use can be used against them in a child custody dispute despite the legalization of both recreational and medical marijuana use in the state.
Legal or not, irresponsible drug or alcohol use can indeed negatively affect a custody determination, so it is important for a parent to check their marijuana use when child custody hangs in the balance.
Typically the issue of marijuana use comes up in a custody determination when one parent expresses concerns about the other parent’s marijuana use around their child. More specifically, one parent may be concerned that the other parent is using marijuana excessively around a child or that their ex spouse’s use of drugs is endangering their child.
When considering whether a parent’s use of marijuana is detrimental to the well-being of a child, a court will often look at the issue in much the same way they view alcohol abuse. If addiction has taken hold, it is certainly possible that a parent is recklessly using marijuana – or for that matter alcohol in the home. A parent may also be operating while impaired when a child is in a car. If a court finds that a parent is not properly attending to a child’s needs or is putting a child at risk, the court may act on a concerned parent’s accusations of excessive marijuana use.
On the flip side of that coin, if a parent uses marijuana responsibly, keeps it in a place that the child cannot access, and refrains from driving under rate influence, all while performing their duties as a parent, the court will likely determine that child endangerment is not an issue.
If the issue is before the court, it may be that a parent concerned about drugs or alcohol around the children will have to provide proof that marijuana use is indeed having a negative effect on the child, whereas someone who is facing the loss of parenting time and parental responsibility due to marijuana use, will have to demonstrate how the use of marijuana or alcohol has not had a negative impact.
If you are concerned that an ex-spouse’s marijuana use is affecting your child’s health and safety, or if you have been accused of putting your child at risk do to marijuana use, it is important to seek the help of an experienced child custody lawyer. The family law attorneys of Schlesinger & Strauss LLC can help you understand the best steps to take to protect your child’s best interests and your parental rights. To discuss your legal rights call our office at (847) 680-4970.