This is the next post in my series on how the use of medications can impact Florida child custody cases. My last article discussed changing custody due to medication abuse. The first step in making a change is to file a Petition with the Court. It is important to do so quickly, however, as the longer you wait then the less likely a Judge may be to view the matter as an emergency. Contacting an attorney immediately is, therefore, crucial. In this article I will discuss how a parent may go about proving that their counterpart is abusing prescriptions or other drugs. If you are in need of assistance then contact my office today to speak with a Melbourne child custody lawyer.
Courts in Melbourne and other Florida areas will order a drug test if a parent is accused of illegally using prescription medications
If a parent is alleged to be abusing medications without a valid prescription, then proving the matter is relatively straightforward. This typically comes through the Court ordering a drug test of the parent. The first step in this process is to file a Petition with the Court to modify child custody, as explained in our prior article. In situations involving substance abuse, the Court will often hear the matter on an expedited basis (possibly within a few days). At the hearing the Court will often order the accused to take a drug test at a Court mandated facility immediately after the hearing. The results of the drug test will typically be provided to the Court within a day or two.
If the drug test results are positive for prescription medications, then the Court will often take immediate action. This can include restricting the visitation of the offending parent until a trial can be held to determine a more permanent solution. Such restrictions may possibly include that the visitation be supervised. If, however, the drug test results come back negative then the Court will likely be dismissive of the substance abuse claims absent some other compelling evidence. It must be remembered that how the Court will rule in any given situation will always depend on the specific facts of the case.
Florida parents may use the discovery process to show that the other parent is abusing a valid prescription
It is common for parents to abuse medications even when they have a valid prescription. This can come in the form of a parent using more of the substance than is prescribed. In extreme instances, a parent may even be using illegal means to obtain medications in excess of the amount which they are prescribed. The discovery process may be used to obtain evidence of such activity. I have previously discussed the use of discovery in child custody matters. This process, which allows you to obtain information from the other side in litigation, can be used to obtain medical releases, medical records, bank statements, etc. So, even in a situation where a drug test would not be relevant due to a parent having a prescription, evidence can be acquired showing that the parent is abusing and/or exceeding their medication allotments. The discovery process can quickly become complicated and it is strongly suggested that you retain an experienced attorney to assist you.
If you believe that the other parent of your son or daughter is abusing medications then contact my office today to speak with a Melbourne child custody lawyer. I devote my practice to the handling of domestic relations law and my office takes pride in the level of service which we provide. I understand that this is a serious time in your life and will give your case the attention it deserves. Contact us online or by telephone today. My office also services clients in 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.