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Is child custody affected by marijuana use in Kent County

October 30, 2023 John Engman & Associates

Is child custody affected by marijuana use in Kent County

father's rights

The Impact of Marijuana Use on Child Custody and Parenting Time

As the legal landscape surrounding the recreational use of marijuana continues to evolve, many individuals in Michigan find themselves questioning how marijuana usage may affect child custody and parenting time in divorce cases. While recreational marijuana use is now legal in the state, it is essential to understand that the courts take the matter of marijuana use and its influence on child custody and parenting time very seriously.

The Paradox: Legal Marijuana Use and Custody Disputes

Michigan’s transition to legalized recreational marijuana has posed a unique dilemma for parents navigating the tumultuous waters of divorce and custody battles. Although marijuana use for recreational purposes is now sanctioned by the state, it does not necessarily absolve parents from the scrutiny of the court. When child custody and parenting time are at stake, the court’s unwavering focus remains on safeguarding the best interests of the child.

The Shadow of Stigma

The shadow of stigma continues to loom over marijuana users, even in states where its recreational use is legal. Despite the changing legal landscape, many still harbor reservations about marijuana consumption, especially when it comes to parenting. In child custody battles, the other party may attempt to leverage your marijuana use against you. The argument often centers on the premise that your marijuana consumption deems you unfit for guardianship due to the perceived impact on your character and, by extension, your parenting abilities.

The Burden of Proof

If you are a recreational marijuana user and are involved in a child custody or parenting time dispute, the burden is on you to demonstrate in court that your marijuana use does not jeopardize your ability to provide a safe and caring environment for your child. The court’s primary concern is the well-being of the child, and any behavior or substance use that could potentially harm the child will be thoroughly examined.

Marijuana’s Social Stigma

Despite the legality of marijuana use in many states, including Michigan, there remains a social stigma associated with marijuana consumption. This stigma can persist in Grand Rapids child custody battles, with one parent potentially using the other’s marijuana use against them. While marijuana use itself may not impede a parent’s capacity to fulfill their parental responsibilities, it can negatively affect their character in the eyes of the court.

Preserving Parental Rights

If you have been granted custody or parenting time with your child, it is crucial to ensure that your marijuana use does not become an issue that could threaten your parental rights. Here are some steps you can take to protect your rights:

Avoid Using Marijuana Around Your Children: It is advisable not to consume marijuana in the presence of your children, as this can be used against you during legal proceedings. If you have scheduled parenting time, it is best to refrain from marijuana use on those days. If consumption is unavoidable, consider using a minimal amount and ensure it is well after spending time with your children.
Safeguard Your Paraphernalia: Keep your marijuana-related items out of your children’s reach. Store them in secure locations, such as locked shelves or cabinets, to prevent any accidental access.
Exercise Caution on Social Media: Refrain from showcasing your marijuana use on social media platforms. Remember that your children may have access to your social media profiles, and such posts could be exploited to create concerns about your parental rights.
Never Drive Under the Influence: Operating a vehicle under the influence of marijuana while your children are passengers can lead to significant legal repercussions. It is essential to prioritize safety and avoid such behavior.
Understanding the Legal Framework

The legal framework regarding marijuana use and its impact on child custody is outlined in Michigan statutes. Both the Medical Marihuana Act of 2008 and the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act of 2018 emphasize that a person’s custody or visitation rights should not be denied solely for actions permitted by these acts. However, if a person’s behavior poses an unreasonable danger to the child, this can be grounds for denial of custody or visitation.

Marijuana and Alcohol Comparison

The courts often treat marijuana use similarly to alcohol consumption. Responsible usage is not inherently problematic. However, when consumption becomes excessive or endangers children, it becomes a legal concern. Overconsumption can be seen as a threat to the well-being of the child and is punishable both in family court and under the law.

Child Protective Services Investigations

In cases involving marijuana consumption and parenting, Child Protective Services (CPS) investigations are not uncommon. It is crucial to practice responsible marijuana use to avoid any unnecessary involvement by CPS. Key actions include ensuring that marijuana use is genuinely for therapeutic or responsible purposes and refraining from activities that could potentially endanger your children.

Navigating the Legal Framework

In Michigan, the legal framework governing marijuana use and its effect on child custody disputes is outlined in statutes such as the Medical Marijuana Act of 2008 and the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act of 2018. These statutes emphasize that parental rights should not be denied solely due to actions permitted by these acts. However, a critical clause highlights that if a person’s behavior places the child at an unreasonable risk, this could be grounds for the denial of custody or visitation.

If you have any questions or concerns about the impact of marijuana use on your parental rights or any other legal matters related to family law, contact John Engman & Associates, P.C. a  child custody lawyer in Grand Rapids, MI, at 616-454-5222. Our experienced child custody attorneys are dedicated to helping parents navigate the complexities of divorce, custody issues, and asset disclosure during the divorce process. We are here to support you throughout this challenging period.

At John Engman & Associates, P.C., our team of Michigan child custody attorneys is committed to doing everything in their power to assist you during this difficult time. To request a consultation with one of our Grand Rapids, MI drug lawyers, please give our office a call at (616) 454-5222.