When are Drug Tests Used in Child Custody Cases?
In the state of Washington, legal child custody is referred to using the terms “parenting plans” and “residential schedules,” and includes aspects such as child support and visitation time. If you or your former partner are planning to establish a legally-admissible parenting plan, the state law requires a court case be filed. If an agreement is reached in mediation discussions, it will typically be approved by the family court. However, if the parents of the child or children in question are not able to come to an agreement, then the case will move into court proceedings.
In Washington and throughout the United States, family courts generally operate by a primary “golden rule”: to establish guidelines that serve the best interests of the child, particularly in child custody cases. Though providing equal time with each parent is the ideal resolution, the court will consider several factors that may affect the child’s safety, health, and happiness.
Court-Ordered Drug Testing in Child Custody Cases
It’s not uncommon for a family court judge to order mandatory drug testing for one or both parents involved in a child custody case, particularly if there is a history of drug use and/or drug-related criminal offenses. Because a parent’s drug use, whether habitual or only occasional, can put a child in significant danger, it can play a major role in the outcome of a child custody case.
If you believe your former partner is engaging in drug use, you can request a motion for drug testing. If the motion is approved, it is likely that you will also be required to undergo a drug test and be expected to share the cost of testing with your former partner. In contrast, if your former partner submits a request for you to be drug tested, though it may be a point of frustration for you, it’s important to remember that the ultimate goal is to establish a parenting plan that provides a safe, happy, and stable lifestyle for your child.
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