This is the next post in my series discussing the process of asking the Brevard County Court for a change in child custody (otherwise known as “time share”) when a parent is abusing drugs. My last post explained what a parent can expect during a change of custody trial. In this post I will discuss what steps a Court will take with regards to a parent who is abusing prescription drugs.
It is not debatable that there is a prescription drug crisis in this country. Hundreds of thousands of honest people find themselves addicted to prescription pills every day after experiencing legitimate health problems. When one discusses prescription drug abuse, particularly in a child custody context, the narcotics in question are generally opioids or sedatives. Opioids, such as Vicodin or Oxycontin, are often prescribed for pain issues. They may be prescribed for acute issues such as after a surgery, or for chronic pain, such as ongoing back problems. Sedatives are most commonly used for anxiety issues, such as generalized anxiety and panic attacks, or sleep problems.
Legally obtaining and taking a prescribed drug is not an automatic reason for a parent to modify custody. If, however, the use of the substance goes from medicinal to the feeding of an addiction then the Court would likely intervene. Many make the mistake of thinking that “legal” drugs are not viewed as seriously as banned substances such as heroin, methamphetamine, etc. The fact of the matter is that a Court is concerned when legal substances interfere with one’s ability to parent a child. This is true whether one is talking about prescriptions, alcohol, or other legal “medicines.”
The first step in modifying time share in such a situation is to file a Motion with the Court. The Judge will typically order immediate drug testing. The parent will likely be found to be abusing controlled substances if they test positive in regards to a substance for which they have no prescription. The parent can also be found as a drug abuser if their blood levels show an amount of use far beyond that which was prescribed. In the event of a positive test the Court will often issue a temporary modification of custody and set a trial date to determine if the change should be made permanent.
If you are a parent and have a concern regarding your child’s parent’s prescription drug use then it is important to discuss the matter with a Melbourne child custody attorney right away. Contact our office today to speak with a lawyer regarding modification of your time share. My office 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.