This is the next post in our series on the handling of Boston, Massachusetts child custody cases which involve drug use by a parent. Our last article discussed how marijuana or prescription abuse impacts child custody proceedings. It is important to understand that Courts will restrict a parent’s visitation if they are abusing controlled substances – even if those substances were legally obtained, possessed, or prescribed. If you have questions about your situation then it is best to discuss the matter with an experienced family law attorney as quickly as possible. In this article we will discuss another important topic – how the use of methamphetamine, heroin, or “hard” drugs will impact a case. If you are in need of assistance then contact our office today to speak with an attorney.
Family Court Judges tend to have little to no patience for parents who use more extreme forms of narcotics. In the Court’s eyes, any use of such drugs will likely render a parent unfit to care for the child. This is due to several reasons. First, such substances are highly addictive and virtually no Judge will believe that the drugs are simply being used casually. Second, using such substances is illegal. Third, it is not uncommon for the use and/or possession of these substances to be connected with other criminal activity, such as the possession of firearms, theft, or some form of violent offense. In other words, using high level drugs may result in the parent being seen as a danger to the child.
If you believe that your counterpart is abusing heroin or methamphetamine, then the first step is to file an emergency Motion which requests a change in child custody. Under such circumstances, the Court may be willing to hearing the matter on an expedited basis. An immediate drug test can be ordered and, if the test results are positive, then the Court will likely order that the offending parent’s visitation be supervised. A trial date will be scheduled and a series of status checks will likely be held. An offending parent can likely expect that their visitation will remain supervised until such time at which they can demonstrate, to the Court, that they have been drug-free for a prolonged period of time and that they have a plan in place which ensures a stable future. We cannot stress enough, however, that how the Court will rule in any given situation is always going to depend on the specific facts of the case. This is why, again, it is best to discuss your situation with an attorney.
If you are in need of assistance then contact our office today to speak with a Boston child custody lawyer. We have handled many cases which involved parental substance abuse and our firm will give your case the attention it deserves. We also assist Massachusetts residents in the Middlesex County cities of Cambridge, Lowell, Somerville, and Newton, as well as those in the cities of Worcester, Brockton, Quincy, and Lynn.