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Can previous drug use factor into your child custody case?

On Behalf of | Apr 30, 2024 | Child Custody |

When Pennsylvania courts decide child custody, they prioritize the best interests of the child. The courts consider various factors, including the physical and mental health of each parent.

One aspect that may influence a custody decision is a parent’s history of drug use.

Evidence and documentation

Evidence of past drug use can come from various sources, including witness testimony, drug test results and medical records. Courts may consider the frequency, duration and severity of the drug use. Another factor is any efforts the parent made to address their drug use. Examples include participation in rehabilitation programs or counseling.

Child safety concerns

The primary concern of the court is the safety and well-being of the child. Concerns could arise if there is evidence that a parent’s drug use could be current as well. Current drug use could pose a risk to the child’s safety. In such cases, the court may limit or restrict that parent’s custody rights. This could involve supervised visitation and drug testing requirements.

Impact on parenting ability

Previous drug use can raise concerns about a parent’s ability to provide a safe and stable environment for their child. This may especially be the case if the drug use is very recent or involves frequent relapses.

Depending on the situation, courts may question whether a parent with a history of drug use can adequately care for the child’s physical, emotional and developmental needs. Courts may look for evidence of rehabilitation and ongoing sobriety to show that the parent is capable of providing a secure and dependable home for the child.

Previous drug use can indeed factor into a child custody case in Pennsylvania. Parents should seek guidance and support to present their case effectively and protect their parental rights.