Like many states, Michigan has struggled to deal with issues related to substance abuse over the years. These issues have been exacerbated by the ongoing opioid crisis. A recent report revealed that opioid-related deaths have grown by 10 times since 2000 – a startling and worrying statistic. As many residents of Royal Oak can attest, substance abuse problems have the potential to wreck families. But is all substance abuse the same? Will your substance abuse issues automatically prevent you from spending time with your children after a divorce?
Back in December of 2022, a Court of Appeals in Michigan made a very important decision. According to this ruling, family courts are now forbidden from using failed drug tests as a primary reason to suspend visitation time. This decision stemmed from a situation involving a mother who lost access to her child due to her substance abuse. The court initially ruled that she would only be allowed to visit her child after she had recorded three consecutive, clean drug tests. The drug in question was marijuana.
Her attorneys argued that the lack of parenting time was having a negative impact on her children, who were essentially forbidden from seeing their own mother for several months. Many experts agreed with the decision, stating that courts should only suspend parenting time if it is “absolutely necessary.” It’s also worth mentioning that this decision extends to all drugs and not just marijuana. It also applies to missed drug screenings as well as failed tests.
Not all types of substance abuse are the same. Some are much more harmful than others. If you wish to fight for your parental rights in the face of failed drug tests or documented addictions, it’s important to keep your child’s best interests in mind. Ask yourself whether your substance abuse issue is causing any direct harm to your child.
Did you ever put your child in danger due to your addiction? Are there documented instances of your addiction affecting your ability to care for your child? Did you ever expose your child to drug dealers? Did you ever become so intoxicated that your child was left neglected? If none of these situations ever occurred, there is no real reason for the court to deny your parental rights.
If you have been searching for a qualified, experienced child custody lawyer in Royal Oak, look no further than Iafrate & Salassa, P.C. We know how important it is for parents to spend time with their young ones after divorce. Even if you have struggled with substance abuse issues, you should not simply give up on your parental rights without exploring your legal options. During a consultation, we can assess your unique situation and determine the best route forward. Reach out today and start pursuing a positive custody outcome.
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