This is the next post in a series of articles discussing changes in child custody arrangements in Dayton, Ohio resulting from a parent’s drug use. The previous post focused on parental use of marijuana or prescription drugs as a basis to seek a custody modification. A parent’s legitimate use of validly prescribed medication occasional use of marijuana will not often justify a change in custody. Abuse of these substances or ongoing use that endangers a child may, on the other hand, result in a modification of an existing order. This article will address how a judge may view a parent’s use of heroin or other “hard drugs” in connection with a request to change a custody arrangement. If you need assistance with a custody dispute, contact our office today to speak with an attorney.
In the context of drug use, a court’s approach to cases involving “hard drugs” will be very different than it is in matters involving the use or abuse of prescription substances or marijuana. As stated previously, if a judge determines that a parent’s use of drugs is hazardous to the child or that a parent’s ability to care for the child has been impacted by drug use, it may either temporarily or permanently modify a custody arrangement. This can be somewhat more difficult to prove in connection marijuana or prescription drug use. On the other hand, the mere possession of harder substances, such as heroin, methamphetamines, cocaine, etc. is a criminal offense. Possession of or use of these drugs around the child will be viewed as a danger to the child’s well-being. In many cases, such circumstances will be considered an emergency, justifying an expedited custody change.
How the court will proceed in hard drug cases will depend on the circumstances. If the parent has been arrested for a drug-related offense then the court will likely grant an immediate, but temporary, change to child custody and may impose supervised visitation. In such cases the judge will likely schedule a trial to be held at a later date to determine whether the change in custody should be made more permanent. The court will also likely postpone issuing a permanent decision pending the outcome of the criminal charges. If the parent has not been arrested, but tests positive for hard drugs, then the judge will also likely order temporary supervised visitation with a lasting decision to be reached at trial. Visitation may also be subject to ongoing drug testing and rehabilitation treatments. Whether the court ultimately makes a permanent change in custody will depend upon the specific facts of each case.
If you suspect your co-parent of abusing drugs, contact our office today to speak with a Dayton, Ohio child custody attorney. We also serve the areas of Beavercreek, Centerville, Clayton, Eaton, Englewood, Fairborn, Franklin, Harrison Township, Huber Heights, Kettering, Oakwood, Lebanon, Miami Township, Miamisburg, Piqua, Riverside, Springboro, Springfield, Tipp City, Trotwood, Troy, Vandalia, Waynesville, Washington Township, West Carrollton, Yellow Springs, and Xenia.