This is the next post in my series on supervised child visitation in Melbourne and other Florida areas. My last article provided an overview of topics which this series will be addressing. It also discussed the need to speak with an attorney if you believe your child’s best interests are not being protected. It is important that you retain counsel immediately as the longer you allow the current situation to go on then the more likely the Court is to consider the “status quo.” This can result in the Judge not being willing to make a change. In this article I will be discussing when the Court may require supervised visitation due to parental drug use. If you are in need of assistance then contact my office to speak with a child custody lawyer.
Florida Courts will require supervised visitation when a parent is using “hard” drugs
The sole concern of any Florida Court in a custody case is the best interest of the child. One of the factors the Judge will consider, when determining what best serves those interests, is the mental and physical well being of each parent. Another factor which the Court will consider is the ability of each parent to meet the needs of the child. It almost goes without saying that parents who are using hard drugs, such as cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, etc., will likely have issues with their mental stability. Also, given that the users of such drugs tend to have serious addiction issues, it is also considered almost a given that such parents will struggle to meet the needs of a child. When a parent is using such substances then it is highly likely that the Court will require that their visitation be supervised. This supervision will typically stay in place until such a parent can demonstrate that they have been clean for a prolonged period of time.
There are two primary ways in which a Court will typically find that a parent is using hard drugs. First, the Court may order a drug test if the other parent alleges such drug use. A Judge will not simply take the word of the accusing parent that such use is going on. The second method by which a Court will make such a finding is if a parent is arrested by law enforcement and found to be in possession of such narcotics. A concerned parent can request a drug test, or notify the Court of an arrest, by filing a Supplemental Child Custody Petition with the Court.
Florida judges will also order supervised visitation for the abuse of medical marijuana or prescription pills
We have previously discussed how Family Courts address medical marijuana and prescription medications. As we discussed in those articles, if a parent is abusing such drugs then the fact that they are legal will not be relevant. A Court will still impose supervised visitation if these substances are interfering with the parent’s ability to raise the child. Examples of how this can occur is if a parent is unable to care for the child at night due to being high, not being able to help the child with their homework, attempting to drive the child while impaired, etc. How the Court will rule is always going to depend on the facts of the case, and it is important to remember that if a parent cannot care for the child then their visitation may well become supervised.
If you are involved in a family law dispute then contact my office today to speak with a Melbourne child custody lawyer. My office understands that this is an important time in your life and we will make your case a priority. Contact us online or by telephone to schedule an initial consultation. I also service 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.