Centuori & Associates, PC

The legalization of marijuana is a topic that has garnered a great deal of media attention in recent months. As states continue to work toward resolution on the matter, parents are left in a tenuous position when it comes to how use of the drug could affect them during a child custody challenge. Family law courts are known to lag behind all major social change, and the legalization of marijuana is no exception. For Arizona parents faced with the issue, it is important to mount an aggressive legal response as soon as possible.

When considering a child custody case, a family court judge is tasked with making decisions that are in the best interests of the child or children involved. When it comes to custody cases based primarily on the use of marijuana, the court must weigh any potential risk or harm that the child is exposed to with the trauma of being removed from the care of one or both parents. This is never an easy call to make, and cases have not resulted in a uniform standard of results.

Parents who use marijuana, whether for medical or recreational purposes, must make an effort to ensure that such use never presents a risk of harm to their children. This means avoiding use of the drug while providing direct care to a child, or in an area where the child might be exposed to secondhand smoke. It is also important to store all drugs, even non-prescription medications, in an area that is inaccessible to children.

For those in Arizona who are facing a child custody case that includes allegations of drug use, it is necessary to present a strong response to the court. This involves making a case for the safe and responsible use of marijuana, including a list of the measures taken to prevent such use from having a negative impact on one's child or children. Until the matter has been before the courts for a lengthy period of time, there is unlikely to be any clarity as to how a court may rule in these matters.

Source: thelegalintelligencer.com, "Marijuana's Role in Child-Custody Cases", Randi L. Rubin, July 14, 2015

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