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  1. #1
    jimgranite is offline Junior Member
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    Question Can mother lose custody for drugs?

    What is the name of your state? Indiana

    My sister-in-law has recieved notice that her ex is suing for full custody of their 9-year-old daughter. This came shortly after an argument over taxes after nine years of uneventful joint custody. He pays support and has the child every weekend. He is a student (unemployed) but his wife has a good job. The mother(single) just graduated from college and has a minor job and is looking for better. The child is a dream-- great grades, well-spoken and confident, happy with the current situation. She loves her dad and mom but dislikes her stepmom.

    The dad has gotten a good lawyer (mean but good) and has asked for a full drug test. That is the bad part-- my sister-in-law has smoked pot before bedtime for years. She says she never smoked in front of the child and has stopped since she got the notice. She has never been arrested. The dad is a recovering alcoholic with many arrests for DUI. We think the police have been called to their house a few times for domestic disputes.

    How likely is she to retain custody? Her parents will pay for a good lawyer and we are confident that the child will want to keep the arrangement as is. The wild card is the drug test. What happens if she fails?
  2. #2
    LdiJ is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimgranite
    What is the name of your state? Indiana

    My sister-in-law has recieved notice that her ex is suing for full custody of their 9-year-old daughter. This came shortly after an argument over taxes after nine years of uneventful joint custody. He pays support and has the child every weekend. He is a student (unemployed) but his wife has a good job. The mother(single) just graduated from college and has a minor job and is looking for better. The child is a dream-- great grades, well-spoken and confident, happy with the current situation. She loves her dad and mom but dislikes her stepmom.

    The dad has gotten a good lawyer (mean but good) and has asked for a full drug test. That is the bad part-- my sister-in-law has smoked pot before bedtime for years. She says she never smoked in front of the child and has stopped since she got the notice. She has never been arrested. The dad is a recovering alcoholic with many arrests for DUI. We think the police have been called to their house a few times for domestic disputes.

    How likely is she to retain custody? Her parents will pay for a good lawyer and we are confident that the child will want to keep the arrangement as is. The wild card is the drug test. What happens if she fails?
    I am not going to comment on the moral issues here...I will leave those for someone else to respond to if they choose.

    Dad's request for a drug test doesn't guarantee that a judge will order one. Judge's normally require outside evidence of some sort before taking accusations of drug use seriously.

    However, I hope that she has really quit. Because there is a chance that a test could get ordered, and the longer she goes without smoking the greater likihood there will be that she could pass a test.
  3. #3
    jimgranite is offline Junior Member
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    Some more info... The sister-in-law has never had the police called to her house. The stepmom and biological father have (domestic disputes) by neighbors. The step-grandfather has hit the girl in the face for 'disiplinary action' - about 8 months ago?? Also, the judge has not ordered the drug test. It has been requested by the dad's lawyer. If the mother does lose custody, how likely is it the maternal grandparents OR the mother's sister and husband (home with biological cousins) be granted temporary gaurdianship instead of the father and step-mother getting custody??
  4. #4
    casa is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimgranite
    Some more info... The sister-in-law has never had the police called to her house. The stepmom and biological father have (domestic disputes) by neighbors. The step-grandfather has hit the girl in the face for 'disiplinary action' - about 8 months ago?? Also, the judge has not ordered the drug test. It has been requested by the dad's lawyer. If the mother does lose custody, how likely is it the maternal grandparents OR the mother's sister and husband (home with biological cousins) be granted temporary gaurdianship instead of the father and step-mother getting custody??
    If there is proof the step-grandfather hit the child, that can be submitted to court for the custody hearing- If there is no proof, it's hearsay. If there is documentation or witness' to the police incidents re; domestic violence those can be submitted as well- If there isn't, it's hearsay. (Judges hear parents accusing each other of these things all the time, true or not)

    The mother needs to understand that smoking marijuana has put her child in jeapordy in the past- and make sure she does not start again. It is an illegal substance she had in her home, not to mention the hazards of smoking in the home around children (tobacco or otherwise). How long has it been since she stopped? If it's been a matter of months, she can pay for a drug test herself and submit the results to the court voluntarily. A judge has discretion to order or not to order drug testing. Typically they order testing when there is previous evidence of abuse ie; rehab, police reports, positive drug results prior etc.

    How old is the child? If the child is not in their teens, a judge may not even take their wishes into consideration. Even in their teens, it isn't up to the child but to the judge to determine what home is the best environment for the child.

    The fact that the father is a recovering alcoholic is better than being an active alcoholic, and his DUIs being relevant depend on how recently he got them. It can be mentioned in the mother's responsive declarations, but will be viewed as just bashing the other parent if they are not recent enough to be a concern.

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