This is the next article in my series on how drug use affects child custody in the State of Florida. My last post highlighted that the Court’s sole concern will be for the best interests of the child in parental drug use cases. It is important to remember that in these types of cases, the Court will not focus on the parent’s requests or what is best for the parent. This is the case even if the parent claims that losing custody of their child will negatively impact their sobriety. The Court solely wants to make sure that the child is safe and properly cared for. In this article I will be discussing how the Court deals with medical marijuana and prescription drug use. Each parental drug use case has unique circumstances and the Court will make decisions on a case-by-case basis. If you are in need of assistance then contact our Melbourne office today to speak with a lawyer.
Florida judges view medical marijuana and prescriptions as a valid and authorized use of drugs
It should be noted that the Court will not look down upon parents who are prescribed certain drugs or marijuana due to their medical conditions. However, parents using such medications are required to stay within the prescribing authority’s directions for use. This means that if a parent is prescribed a single pill per day, they should only take that amount. Prescription drug use and medical marijuana only becomes an issue when the parent is abusing the substance. It is also a problem when the parent’s use or abuse of the substance begins to affect their parenting.
It is always beneficial to consider an example to better understand these types of situations. For instance, consider a parent who is prescribed medical marijuana to manage their pain. The parent has forgotten to pick up their child from school on multiple occasions because they were too high to remember. There could also be a situation where the parent is under the influence of prescription drugs or medical marijuana while driving with the child in the car. These matters will certainly be frowned upon by the Court and could result in severe consequences for the parent. This could cause parents to lose custody of the child and even lead to visitation restrictions. While it is always to remember that how the Court will rule is going to be situation specific, this example shows how prescription drug use can impact a child’s safety.
Florida Courts will take action if a parent is abusing drugs and it is affecting their ability to care for the child
The Court follows a complicated process when a parent is abusing drugs and it impacts their ability to care for their child. If a father is abusing his prescription but wants to exercise his time with the child, the mother must file a motion with the Court to prevent this. The Court will then set a hearing date which could be in several weeks. However, hearings are often able to be moved up to a closer date if the case involves parental drug use. The mother can ask for the hearing to be expedited and it may be granted if the situation is serious enough. This often occurs because the Court wants to make sure the child is safe and properly cared for. For example, when a father is known to have been high while driving with the child, the Court will likely find it necessary to move the hearing date sooner.
Courts take parental drug use cases very seriously even when the parent is prescribed certain drugs or medical marijuana. The Court will consider all factors before making a determination for what is in the best interests of the child. It is incredibly important to retain an experienced lawyer to assist you when dealing with these types of cases. I am a Melbourne family law attorney with extensive experience in child custody cases. I understand the serious nature of such situations and my office will give your case the attention it deserves. Contact my office online or by telephone today for assistance. I also serve the 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.