This is the next post in my series on how drug use affects custody in the State of Florida. My last article discussed how the Court views parental use of heroin, methamphetamine, and other hard drugs. It is important to remember that Florida Courts are exceptionally strict when it comes to use of hard drugs. Such drugs are incredibly addictive substances and usage can be dangerous. Moreover, someone using hard drugs may not be able to properly care for a child and cater to their needs. In this article I will discuss how the Court will respond in a child custody case when there is criminal activity that involves drugs. If you are in need of assistance, then contact my office today to speak with a Melbourne lawyer.
How Florida Courts react will depend on whether there is objective evidence of criminal activity involving drug use
Courts will focus on objective evidence when deciding a child custody case. As a result, the Court will need objective proof that there was criminal activity involving drug use in order to rule in favor of the parent making such allegations. Such proof can take the form of arrest records, witness statements, etc. If there is reason to believe that there is drug use, but there has not been an arrest, then the Court will often order a drug test. A judge typically will not find that drug use is occurring without arrest records or a positive drug test.
This is best explained by providing two examples. First, consider a situation where a father is driving with the child in the car and gets pulled over for erratic driving. The police officer thinks that he is high. Further investigation shows that he is in fact on heroin and there is also a gun in the car, so the father gets arrested. In this situation, if the father had custody of the child, he will most likely lose custody and be granted visitation rights. However, the Court is typically going to impose supervised visitation and supervision will likely be required for some time. Next, consider an example where one parent is making allegations that the other parent committed criminal activity involving drug use. However, there is no objective evidence that this occurred. The parent claims that the other parent was driving with the child in the car while in possession of drugs and guns, but they were never arrested for this. There is also evidence that the parent has never failed a drug test and has never even been late for work. Given that there is no objective evidence available that the parent committed a drug crime, the Court will likely be dismissive of the accusations. It is important to remember, however, that how the Court will rule in any given situation will always depend on the specifics of the case. It is, therefore, important to discuss your situation with an attorney.
Florida Courts will take swift action if they believe that the child may be in danger due to the parent’s behavior
In situations where a parent has been arrested for a drug-related crime, the Court will likely think that this poses a danger for the child. As a result, the Court will typically implement supervised visitation. Further, the Court will take such situations much more seriously when a weapon is found upon arrest in addition to drugs. In such situations, the Court will respond quickly to ensure that the child is safe. As mentioned previously, a parent who has previously been arrested for criminal activity involving drug use will likely receive supervised visitation. In order to receive unsupervised visitations, the parent would need to show that they are stable and clean for an extended period. Further, any increase in visitation will be gradual.
If you are a parent and your ex has been arrested for using drugs, then it is important to discuss your situation with an attorney immediately. My office has extensive experience dealing with child custody cases. Contact my Melbourne, Florida office today to speak with a lawyer about your case. I understand the serious nature of such situations and my office will give your case the attention it deserves. My office also serves the Brevard County areas of Titusville, Cocoa, Palm Bay, Grant, Valkaria, and Rockledge, as well as Indian River County areas of Fellsmere, Sebastian, Vero Beach, Indian River Shores, and Orchid.