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Drug use and custody ramifications

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

Quick question here; please no judgemental responses.  I am a divorced mom with shared custody of my kids with my ex.  We had historically had a very amicable co-parenting situation that has more recently turned ugly.  Unfortunately my ex and his wife know about the fact that my husband smokes marijuana.  I truly believe if we lived in a more enlightened state, he would qualify for medicinal marijuana but as it is he uses it (illegally in our state) to combat anxiety.  This never interferes with his work or responsibilities and he uses it in modest quantities.  Nevertheless, I'm really worried about what legal ramifications this could have in a custody battle if we ever have to go to court and they bring this up.  Does anyone know what our rights are in this regard or have been through a similar situation?

post #2 of 18
My husband's ex tried to bring it into court when we were going through our last custody battle because he uses it for Anxiety, Depression and PTSD... The judge asked her if she had any proof, meaning a drug conviction or a social worker to witness of drug use within the home and around the children. Obviously, she could not... the judge told her without some sort of proof, he can not use this against him. You have to realize, these judges see allegations in custody disputes ALL.THE.TIME so without proof, they have nothing. She may be able to request him to drop urine... but honestly, I don't think that would be something they would be willing to even do without proof.
post #3 of 18
Thread Starter 

That's reassuring to know!  Would they ask the kids if they'd witnessed any drug use? Would that be considered admissible evidence? My kids are 7 and 9 and he definitely only uses when he's in our bedroom, away from them, but it has happened on occasion that they've walked in on him.  We have not told them exactly what's going on--just said that he sometimes smokes a pipe.  So if the judge asked them to describe what they'd seen or smelled it might be incriminating enough to pinpoint it as marijuana use but I don't know for sure...

post #4 of 18
Do you have a Guardian ad litem? If you don't, you have nothing to worry about there. The judge will never talk to the kids at that age. Even a GAL probably wouldn't because they are there solely for the children and are not there to interrogate the children with accusations from either party.
post #5 of 18
Thread Starter 

Since I had never heard of a GAL, I'm guessing I don't have one, LOL.  Is that some kind of third party that tries to look out for the kids' best interests?  In any case, thank you sharing your experience/wisdom--it is much appreciated!

post #6 of 18

At this point what I would be more concerned about is the other party calling CPS and making a report that launches an investigation.

Using 'responsibilty' or not in your state what your DH is doing is illegal and if your Ex wants to play hardball for custody your current DH just have him the ammo to do so.  Sorry to be so blunt but those are the facts.

post #7 of 18
Yes, that is what a GAL is... they are usually requested by one of the parents.

As for Children services being called... don't even worry about that. *IF* they show up, refuse to let them in. That is your right. There is a thread on here somewhere (just search Child Protective Services) that will tell you your rights and what to do if they show up. By law, they have to make an appointment with you in order to search your home. They CAN NOT just show up and come search the home. Once they make the appointment, you make sure to get all paraphernalia out of the home. If they are called and show up make sure he quits smoking IMMEDIATELY in case they make a request during the appointment to drop urine. Of course, this is all a hypothetical situation which more than likely will not happen because even CPS doesn't take calls of suspected marijuana use as a child abuse/neglect situation too often.

Many people don't agree with the use of marijuana for medical reasons so they like to scare you into thinking you can lose your children over it. However, very VERY rarely has anyone lost custody due to marijuana. It's not considered a hard drug so generally, Child protective services and Family court doesn't get all up in arms over it as much as these people wish.
post #8 of 18

I'm not sure because I would need to know more about your state. WHere I live it would mean nothing and go nowhere. Allegations of drug use come up all the time in court and unless the other party manages to get drug testing ordered (which would not be easy without an arrest or a history) I wouldn't worry about it. However, since you are in a state that does not recognize marijuana as legal I would go to greater lengths to hide it from your children because if they ever mentioned it to friends at school or other parents then CPS may get involved. Especially if that DARE program is at their school. In my state it is legal but most Physicians won't prescribe with just anxiety as an ailment. They look for more tangible ailments like cancer, chronic pain issues, glaucoma etc because many legal enforcement agencies don't consider depression/anxiety as necessary ailments for using marijuana on.

post #9 of 18

ANd also because so many people attempted to take advantage of medical marijuana by claiming to have depression and anxiety which is hard to prove.

post #10 of 18
Thread Starter 

Hmm, interesting thoughts on the CPS issue.  DH and I have talked about exploring what other anti-anxiety options he might have that could be legally prescribed. We really feel like most rx pharmaceuticals are less natural than marijuana and would hate to end up with something harsh and potentially habit-forming just to jump through the hoops of it being legal, but we might look into these options just to see what alternatives we might have.  DH also found out that there was a bill in the PA congress to legalize marijuana here and popular support was over 70%, but PA just elected a very conservative governor who has said he would veto it if it passed.  So I guess legality isn't going to happen anytime that soon...

 

Anyway, my kids go to a Montessori school which I do not think does the DARE program, and I think I read somewhere that technically your child does not have to participate in DARE if you do not consent to it.  Even if DH did not use marijuana, I would likely oppose my children being "educated" about drugs through DARE since they treat all drugs as equally dangerous, which we all know is not true.  To truly educate my kids about drug use, I would want them to know the facts and relative risks of each substance and not be spun propaganda about "gateway drugs."  Anyway, that's a tangent...

 

But let me ask, if my kids ever did say something to a teacher or other parent that their stepdad "smokes a pipe" would this be enough of a reason cause to get CPS involved?  And if so, would we still have the same right to refuse search of the house without a prior appointment or would their saying something constitute probable cause and allow them access to search without notice?

post #11 of 18
Pipes aren't illegal... many, many people smoke perfectly legal tobacco in them. Not a good reason to call CPS... And yes, you ALWAYS have the right to refuse CPS entrance to your home. They are NOT law enforcement and are not able to come in and search without a warrant. And the chances of getting a warrant for someone that has no prior convictions are pretty much zilch. A child saying "Daddy smokes a pipe" is NOT probable cause for a search and seizure. While MJ is frowned upon by CPS and law enforcement, they have much, much bigger issues than a man whom has no convictions or arrests that might be toking up to keep from being overly anxious.

Don't worry, if my husband's ex can know about it and not do anything about it, no one can because I promise you, if she had a way to keep DH from his kids, she would do everything in her power to do so. She hates the man with everything she has and has already told EVERYONE and their brother that my husband is a "drug addict"... she even adds on that he pops pills (he doesn't even take TYLENOL! LOL) so if there were any legal ramifications, I'm sure I would know about it by now. She's been trying for 10 years now, lol.
post #12 of 18

i agree with the pp's unless there is a prior conviction or some sort of legal evidence of your dh smoking mj, then you have nothing to worry about. i feel so badly for people in the states, here it is just such a non-issue. even when you are having a court ordered investigation into your life, called a section 15 here, they don't make any issues about it. they note that the parents smoke it, and that is that. judges here dont see it as harmful, especially if it is kept from the children and not smoked around them. imo mj is the most natural solution for anxiety, especially if it works for you, then why go pharmacutical. although i dont know if your dh has ever tried 'rescue remedy' a bach family remedy which uses flower essences for anxiety and stress relief. i used it with my children, and myself when they were little and i needed something to take the edge off for them and for me,

 

vs

post #13 of 18

" However, since you are in a state that does not recognize marijuana as legal I would go to greater lengths to hide it from your children because if they ever mentioned it to friends at school or other parents then CPS may get involved. Especially if that DARE program is at their school."

 

I turned in my dope-smoking parents after a 4th grade DARE "educational program."  They had convinced me of the "gateway drug" theory and that my folks were going to wind up addicted to heroin if we didn't stop them in their tracks with the marijuana. Thank God the school social worker was a sane and rational lady who made the whole thing go away. 

 

Ridiculous, of course, and an awful thing to do to a child - but at this point in my life, I hold my parents mostly responsible. I shouldn't have had that secret to keep. It was unfair to me to be in league with my parents against "the Man" at age age nine. I strongly suggest that you practice a little more discretion, to keep that potential burden off your kids' shoulders. Even if they don't have DARE, they are bound to run into a classmate or teammate (or teacher or coach) who gives the same kind of spiel. 

post #14 of 18

It seems to me that if you want to have this issue go away- it's pretty easy.  Many people use legal medications to deal with similar issues.  Whether or not they are natural doesn't really matter, the fact that your partner is using does endanger your custody battle. 

 

FWIW, if I knew my ex was married to someone who used marijuana in a state where that was illegal, I would absolutely use that against them in a custody battle.  it would demonstrate poor decision making.  In my state- though we are now a legal medical marijuana state- it would be enough if he didn't have a prescription to stipulate that they only had supervised visitation until they could prove that they hadn't been using  and had completed a chemical dependency program. 

post #15 of 18

but if he used it when they knewall along and did nothing, it would more than likely be seen as vindictive. if there is no legal evidence but he said she said, then no worries. but do educate your children about the law etc if they are older and if they are smaller then keep it away from them always. 

is there a way that you can refuse to have your child not participate in the DARE program? here in canada, well at least bc you can. i do agree keep it as far from your kids as possible, it is an adult activity and shouldnt be taken in front of children, unless made into a tea form. educate your children about it when they are older, depending on your feelings about it. there is a lot more to it than the standard 'gateway drug' stuff. it stems way back from the cotton industry and other industries which would lose their big money incomes should hemp or marijuana come on in and take over... here it is standard parental teaching with most parents who indulge whic here in bc is 74% + in the adult voting population.

be careful,  good luck

 

vs

post #16 of 18
Thread Starter 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mum2sarah View Post

Anyway, my kids go to a Montessori school which I do not think does the DARE program, and I think I read somewhere that technically your child does not have to participate in DARE if you do not consent to it.  Even if DH did not use marijuana, I would likely oppose my children being "educated" about drugs through DARE since they treat all drugs as equally dangerous, which we all know is not true.  To truly educate my kids about drug use, I would want them to know the facts and relative risks of each substance and not be spun propaganda about "gateway drugs."  Anyway, that's a tangent...

 

 

As I mentioned, I would never let my kids participate in DARE even if I did not need to directly worry about the ramifications, because it's such a misinforming program.  Anyway, yes, DARE requires parental permission: http://www.drcnet.org/DARE/section2.html  So if any pot-smoking parent signs that form, it's their signing of the form, in my opinion, that's to blame at least as much as is the "secret-keeping."  I have had discussions with the kids about drugs that are good or bad not necessarily being the same as drugs that are legal or illegal.  I've used tobacco as a counter-example of something that does nothing but bad things to you but is legal. And I've tried to illustrate that people can use or abuse lots of different substances, and that a drug that may be good for some people in some contexts could be bad for other people or if used in an abusive way.  I've given them examples of people who get hooked on rx painkillers and things like that...  But I haven't *directly* addressed mj or DH's use of it.

 

Furthermore, my kids don't really *know* what it is that DH smokes in his pipe. Of course it doesn't look like a traditional tobacco pipe, but also they have no basis of comparison.  We don't mention what he puts in his pipe by name and like I said he does use discretion and doesn't smoke around them.  However, we're not a family that closes and locks the doors in our house.  If the kids have gone to bed and woken up with a nightmare, they have sometimes barged in while he's smoking, for example.

 

Plus, the thing is that my ex and my DH have actually smoked together, and my ex's father continues to smoke mj even when the kids are staying in his house.  My ex even gave DH his pipe when he decided to quit.  So it would be extremely hypocritical of him to bring it up in court.  But I know people do desperate things in desperate situations, so my ex might be able to argue that his smoking was "in the past" and not something he presently engages in like DH??

post #17 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by insidevoice View Post

It seems to me that if you want to have this issue go away- it's pretty easy.  Many people use legal medications to deal with similar issues.  Whether or not they are natural doesn't really matter, the fact that your partner is using does endanger your custody battle. 

 


OT: I would rather someone deal with anxiety by smoking marijuana than by popping a xanax. I've seen the harm xanax can do to a family. Never MJ.

 

 

Back on track: I tried to get visitations taken away from my ex because he was an abusive alcoholic and that was never brought up in court. A little pot isn't going to be a blip on the radar.

 

post #18 of 18

I tried calling CPS on my ex when he took my children. My son sent me text messages with pictures of the bongs he had sitting in the public areas of the house. CPS said that unless I could  prove that the marijuana negatively affected his parenting abilities the drug use didn't matter. We had a GAL. My ex and his 3rd wife both got Medicinal Mar. permits.  I lost all three of my kids. I am squeaky clean.

 

You probably don't need to worry. He can probably blaze up in front of the kids and it won't matter a bit to the family courts.

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