Mother hugging worried childThis is the next post in my series on how a parent smoking weed can impact child custody cases in Melbourne and other Florida areas. My last article discussed how the Court views situations where a parent is smoking weed. It is important to understand that, even if a parent has a medical card, the Court may change custody if inebriation makes the parent unable to care for the child. Discussing your particular situation with an attorney is the best way to determine how the Court may view the matter. In this article I will discuss the process of changing custody due to marijuana use. If you or a family member require assistance then contact my office today to speak with a lawyer.

Changing child custody begins by filing a Supplemental Petition with the Court

If you are concerned about your child’s wellbeing, then the first step in changing custody is to file a Motion (also known as a “Supplemental Petition”) with the Court. This is a document in which you state what you are requesting and the law supporting the request. The Court will schedule a hearing on the Motion. If the child’s safety is at issue (as is often the case in matters which involve drugs), then the Court will often hear the case on an expedited basis. The initial hearing on the Motion will not be a trial. Instead, it will consist of the attorneys for each side making a brief argument. The Court will have several options at the end of the hearing. First, the Court may make a temporary change in custody while setting a trial to determine if any change should become more permanent. Second, the Court may deny the request, which would end the matter and leave the current order in effect. Finally, the Court may not make an immediate change, but may set a trial to determine if a change in custody should be granted. How the Court will rule at the initial hearing will always depend on the specifics of the case.

An important issue in the matter will be whether there are allegations that the parent is using marijuana illegally. If the parent does not have a medical card then the Court is likely to order that a drug test be completed immediately following the first hearing. If the parent claims to not be smoking weed, but the test shows that they are doing so illegally, then the Judge may be more suspect of claims that they are not doing so in the presence of the child. After the initial hearing, and any required drug testing, the parties will need to prepare for trial if the matter does not otherwise resolve.

Florida child custody cases will typically resolve in either a settlement or trial

If the Court sets a trial to determine the final custody order then the matter will typically resolve in one of two ways. First, the parties may enter into an agreed upon custody order to end the case. Second, the case will conclude at the trial. If the matter proceeds through the litigation process then each side will conduct discovery in order to gather needed information at trial. For the parent requesting custody, discovery will focus on gaining information which shows that the other parent is not fit to care for the child. The nature of any discovery requests will always revolve around specific allegations. An experienced attorney can determine the best approach to preparing for trial.

If you are in need of assistance then contact my office today to speak with a Melbourne child custody lawyer. I practice exclusively in the area of family law and I understand that nothing is more important than one’s children. My office will give your case the attention it deserves and we will make sure you know what to expect as the matter moves forward. Contact us online or by telephone to get started. We also serve clients in Brevard County cities of Titusville, Cocoa, Palm Bay, Grant, Valkaria, and Rockledge, as well as in the Indian River County areas of Fellsmere, Sebastian, Vero Beach, Indian River Shores, and Orchid.