Can Legal Cannabis Use Affect Child Custody?

Posted on May 03, 2019 03:54pm
Can Legal Cannabis Use Affect Child Custody?

With the legalization of recreational cannabis use in Oregon in 2015, many new questions have popped up in reference to its use. As a result, parents throughout Oregon, and beyond, are wondering whether their legal use of marijuana could affect their child custody case. Custody battles can get vicious, which is why it’s important to evaluate every weak spot in your defenses before you begin any type of legal case with your child’s other parent.

Whether you legally use cannabis or your child’s other parent does, make sure you know how Oregon law regards this new issue.

The Court’s Opinion

When it comes to parenting abilities and the use of legalized marijuana, the court’s method in handling these types of cases is relatively new, and still changing. Adults have only been able to legally use cannabis in the last few years, which is why the negative stigma around this recreational drug is still somewhat prevalent.

As a parent, the best thing you can do when your cannabis use comes up in court is to be honest with your attorney and prepare your response in advance. The important thing is to emphasize that recreational cannabis use does not impede your parenting ability, nor does it put your child in any danger.

One way of looking at this issue is to compare cannabis use to that of alcohol. A parent is legally allowed to drink, but excessive or irresponsible drinking that affects a child’s well-being or safety can be used against you in a custody matter. Also, the children should never have access to the alcohol themselves. The same rules apply to marijuana. It may be legalized, but your use should not negatively impact your child’s welfare and your children should never, under any condition, have access to any form of cannabis.

How To Defend Your Parenting Abilities

Your spouse might try to tear down your case by saying that your use of cannabis makes you an unfit parent, inattentive, or negligent in some way. To protect yourself from these types of accusations, be extremely careful in your use of cannabis. For example, you should never post anything about your use on social media or online. Such posts could be used against you in court. Also, keep your children away from the drug and only use it when they are not around. To be safe, its best to refrain from any use when your children are under your care.

If you find yourself anxious about your upcoming child custody case because of marijuana usage, make sure you discuss the details with your attorney. Together, you can work through the potential pitfalls and strengthen your overall case to maintain custody of your child or to preserve your visitation rights.

Concerned about your upcoming child custody case? Contact McKinley Irvin to discuss your family law case with our firm and find out how the legal use of cannabis could impact your role as a parent.

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