Divorce proceedings, especially when child custody and visitation rights are involved, can quickly become contentious. A common tactic a parent or their attorney may employ to ensure favorable custody rights is to request a drug test in order to prove that the other parent is incapable of providing the best situation for their children.
A request for a drug test isn’t enough to require one; the final decision is up to the judge, who will determine if there is enough evidence or not to require testing. Evidence the judge may factor into their decision can include continual, habitual, or frequent consumption of alcohol; continual, habitual, or frequent use of a controlled substance; a prior conviction within the past five years for use or illegal possession of a controlled substance.
If you are required to submit to drug testing, your attorney may recommend requesting that your spouse is also tested. If the judge decides that the evidence presented warrants the requirement of a drug test, you will be required to submit a urine sample per the testing standards created by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for federal employees. Urine tests are not comprehensive, but you and your spouse can agree to a more thorough test of hair follicles or fingernails, which can give more accurate and detailed results.
If you test positive, you may be able to challenge the test results in a hearing, or you may want to request a second test. Even though drug test results are generally accurate, there are a variety of legal substances that can cause a false positive. Whether the positive test is upheld or not, it will not be the sole factor when the judge determines custody or visitation rights. However, a positive test will be taken into account when determining the child’s best interests.
If only one spouse tested positive, the judge is more likely to award custody to the spouse that tested negative, and may order supervised or restricted visitation rights, especially if the drug or alcohol abuse lead to abusive behavior, impaired driving, or mistreatment of their spouse or children.
Divorce cases can quickly become contentious, even when children aren’t involved. Cases where children are involved, especially if one or both spouses file a motion to request a drug test, can become even more so. When this happens, it’s especially important to have qualified and experienced legal defense standing beside you. At Givens Givens Sparks, our Tampa divorce lawyers understand what may be at stake for you, and our ultimate goal is to protect your rights in order to secure your family’s wellbeing. With over 135 of collective experience, our attorneys have to knowledge you need to fight for the best possible outcome. Visit our website to request a case consultation, or call us at (813) 336-3348 to set up a meeting with one of our divorce attorneys.