Child Custody- What Happens if the Other Parent is Using Illegal Drugs?


If you are in a child custody battle in Tennessee and one parent is using illegal drugs, then the other parent can ask the Judge to order a drug test. Under Tenn. Code Ann. 39-17-418(a), it is an offense for a person to knowingly possess or casually exchange a controlled substance.

While the law is changing in some states as to the use of medical marijuana, it is still illegal in this state. In Long v. Harbin, 2006 Tenn. App. LEXIS 645 (Oct. 4, 2006), the court awarded a change of custody to the father, taking into account among other things, the mother’s drug use in the presence of the child and evidence that she had operated a motor vehicle in which the child was a passenger while using marijuana. Other court decisions have also relied upon drug use by a parent when the child was present in making a custody decision.

If illegal drug use is found, the Court can order the other parent to a drug rehabilitation or treatment center. The Court may also order supervised parenting time.

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