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Could marijuana use affect your child custody case

Stories about marijuana use in child custody disputes in Texas have not become a matter of public discourse, but the changing views about the drug is complicating the evaluation of what exactly is in a child’s best interests.

A decade ago, the use of marijuana was viewed as such a taboo that any inference of use was dealt with harshly. In essence, it was seen as an example of child endangerment, and a parent who used it commonly lost custody of the child. Nowadays, parents who are diagnosed with conditions that create chronic pain, as well as those with mental disabilities are allowed to use marijuana. Also, many more people use it recreationally, and two states, Colorado and Washington, sanction such use. Moreover, a number of other states have decriminalized small units of possession, to where no jail time is attached. 

While the criminal nature of marijuana use and possession has definitely changed, the notion of whether it is in a child’s best interests has not exactly followed suit. In a recent Associated Press report, a number of parents have lost custody of their children despite using marijuana in accord with state laws. However, some believe that what may not be a criminal infraction may still be harmful to a child.

Because of this disparity, it is important to have a skilled family law attorney to clearly identify and address a court’s concerns. Indeed, the “best interests standard” can be a subjective one, so promoting a parent’s strengths and minimizing weaknesses is paramount.

If you have questions about how potential drug use may affect your custody matter, an experienced lawyer can help.

Source: Buffalonews.com “Changing pot laws prompt child-endangerment review,” Associated Press, June 15, 2014

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