Deciding between two disputing parents as to who should have custody of a child can be a challenging undertaking for any judge. Although it may seem intrusive to people involved in the court system, it is important for the judge to have as much information about the parenting qualities of each person to make the best decision for the children. One issue that parents should be aware of that may come into play during their case is the issue of consumption of alcohol and other drugs. In a large number of family law cases, one of the ways to differentiate between the capabilities of the parents is to present evidence that a parent is using illegal drugs or is excessive with their consumption of alcohol.
It is very common in Texas for the Court, either on its own motion or the motion of either or both parties, to order drug and/or alcohol testing of one or both parents. Generally, an alcohol and/or drug test is requested at the time of the temporary orders hearing (typically the first hearing held) in a suit-affecting the parent-child relationship, which includes a divorce action. A motion for drug and/or alcohol testing can be requested instanter, which means that you may not have any advance notice that the Court or the other parent is requesting that you submit to a test prior to the temporary orders hearing. Therefore, whether or not you are the parent that may be using alcohol excessively/using illegal drugs there are things that you should know about this issue prior to filing a Petition or Counter-Petition in a suit affecting the parent-child relationship.
The first point to be aware of regarding this issue is that if you are using illegal substances, you need to stop immediately and seek professional assistance if you believe that you have a substance abuse problem. You should not file for divorce until such time that you believe that you could pass a random drug/alcohol test because you could be ordered to submit to a random drug and/or alcohol test by close of business on the day of the initial temporary orders hearing.
There are many myths to drug/alcohol testing to be aware of no matter what side of this issue that you may fall. Over the next several weeks, I will be providing you with information regarding the common types of drug/alcohol testing that you may be ordered to submit to, including common methods to try to “beat” a test.
Over the next several weeks I will be providing helpful information regarding the impact that illegal drug use and/or substance abuse issues may have on your case. Next week I will discuss part I of a 4 part series, which will include:
URINALYSIS DRUG TESTING
- · ALCOHOL
- · DRUGS
HAIR FOLLICLE DRUG TESTING
o HEAD HAIR
o BODY HAIR
- · FINGERNAIL SCRAPES/OTHER NAIL TESTING
- · FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Please feel free to contact us if you have questions for a Texas divorce or family law attorney.