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Thread: Drug use

  1. #1
    mrgordan is offline Junior Member
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    Drug use, custody

    What is the name of your state?
    Florida (I live in Maryland but my wife lives in Florida and Florida has jurisdiction)

    The Short Version

    My ex-wife agreed to random drug testing in our mediation agreement which later became a court order. However, when I asked her to take a hair follicle drug test, she refused. She said that she was only willing to take a urine drug test. However, each time she does drugs she disappears for the next ten days and a urine drug test will only detect drug use within the last three to five days. How do I document my request that she be drug tested? Is it possible to get a court order mandating that she take a hair follicle drug test?

    In our mediation agreement, it says that if she violates the drug use stipulations (maintaining contact, doing drugs) I can refuse to allow her visitational rights. However, I'm afraid that she will say that I never asked her to take a drug test.

    The Long Version

    I currently have primary custody of my children and my ex-wife Abby (not her real name) has them during the summer and Christimas break. However, this year the kids flew down to see her for their Christmas break and she disappeared the day before the kids were suposed to fly home. Her ex-boyfriend drove them to the airport without their luggage because he couldn't find Abby. Abby didn't call to tell the kids goodbye and she didn't call for the next 10 days. I'm pretty sure that she was doing drugs during this time. (Abbey's boyfriend told me that she called him asking for help and admitted to doing cocaine)

    My ex-wife and I have a mediation agreement in which she agreed to random drug testing (She admitted previous drug use) and to keep a valid phone number where she can be contacted at all times. Immediately after the kids got home, I tried to contact her to ask her to take a urine drug test but couldn't reach her. When I finally did speak to her I asked her to take a hair follicle drug test instead of a urine drug test because of the length of time that I could not contact her. (A hair drug test detects drug use within the last 90 days; a urine drug test only detects drugs use within the last 3-5 days) She refused saying that the reason she couldn't call was that she was in jail the whole time. (She was willing to take a urine drug test) According to the jail booking logs, she was never there. Abby told me that she would send proof of her jail stay but she never did. No surprise there! She didn't send the kid's luggage back either.

    How do I document my request that she be drug tested? Can I ask the court to order her to take a hair follicle drug test? If not, how in the he** can I prove that she is still using drugs if she disappear after each time she uses them?
    Last edited by mrgordan; 01-17-2006 at 11:49 PM. Reason: Clarify name of state
  2. #2
    ceara19 is offline Senior Member
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    Request the test via certified return receipt requested mail. Make sure to note that it can only be signed for by the addressee. You can always ask the judge to require a hair follicle test, the worst he can say is no. How long have the kids lived in MD with you? Has it been long enough to give MD jurisdiction over the case?
  3. #3
    stealth2 is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by ceara19
    How long have the kids lived in MD with you? Has it been long enough to give MD jurisdiction over the case?
    Ceara - you keep commenting on changes of jurisdiction, but it is not really as simple as you seem to think. As long as one parent continues to reside in the state that originated the orders, that state will generally maintain jurisdiction. You really shouldn't keep on about jurisdiction if you don't understand how it works.
  4. #4
    snostar is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrgordan
    How do I document my request that she be drug tested? Can I ask the court to order her to take a hair follicle drug test? If not, how in the he** can I prove that she is still using drugs if she disappear after each time she uses them?
    Your agreement should have outlined the type of test and lab that would administer the test. File for a modification outlining these, and request she be 100% responsible for the expense in the event she tests positive. Truth Verifications Laboratories has a location in FL (1-800-727-8846) , they meet all DHHS/SAMHAA guidelines for Forensic hair follicle drug testing.
  5. #5
    weenor is offline Senior Member
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    OP- welcome to my world

    Hubby's ex is crack addict and his order says she must take drug test immediately upon request. He would request she would not go...then he asked for hair follicle and she showed up with her own negative urine screen. Without "hair follicle" in the order we could not force her to take it. However, in the process we have had to rethink the purpose of requesting the test in the first place. In my work I regularly use drug testing as evidence of drug use so I know how it works.

    Now as to hair follicle v. urine...this gets more complicated than you would think. Go back to the beginning and think about why you wanted the drug test to begin with....In our case we wanted the drug test to insure that ex was not using in the child's presence....We were advised that while drug use in general is disfavored, the court really won't do a whole lot if the child is not in imminent danger during the visitation- i.e. if she is not using in the child's presence. Now hair follicle can show use of cocaine within 90 days but does not prove when the person used. Hair follicle in general cannot detect recent cocaine use...In other words it takes approximately one week after use for it to show up in her hair. A urine test will show the cocaine metabolite for up to 72 hours.

    So ask yourself what are trying to accomplish? If your order says no visitation with positive test, without more, then hair follicle may be what you need. If your order says no visitation with refusal, hair follicle would also work- when you get "hair follicle" in the order. If the order is oriented toward use in the child's presence, hair follicle won't help you prove when the use took place.

    I post all of the above to ask if you think hair follicle is really necessary and if your order is sufficient to refuse visitation if the test is positive. My hubby kept insisting on the much more expensive hair follicle only to discover that a positive test really won't do him much good..in the long run. If you think it will be beneficial in your case then you've got to get it in the order first.

    For now, send certified letters to document your requests...she won't pick them up and she will deny receiving them, but at least you have documentation. Also document each time you requested by phone and any other irratic behavior you know of....I documented 40 pages of crap in the last two years (she refused to take drug tests after 15+ requests with only two in writing) and the GAL found my notes extremely helpful when he recommended supervised visitation. Also check into medical records...if she is already at the unexplained disappearance stage..she may be checking into hospitals or rehabs to detox...nothing better to prove drug use in court.
  6. #6
    mrgordan is offline Junior Member
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    Thanks for all the comments. To clarify, these are the stipulations in the agreement.

    2.1 Visitation Rights
    2.1.1. Any violations of stipulations 2.1.2 or 2.1.3 will result in the reduction of the mothers visitation rights to supervised visitation at the father's discretion
    2.1.2. No substance abuse, whether it is the abuse of illegal drugs or the abuse of alcohol and / or prescription drugs
    2.1.3. Mother retains full visitation as long as she consent to year-round, random drug testing as a prerquisite to visitation.
    2.1.3.1. Urine specimens for drug testing must be provided within 24 hours of notification, and must be physically monitored at time of submission. The mother must provide current contact information where she can be reached within 24 hours
    2.1.3.2. For each time the mother tests positive for drugs, or is hospitalized for substance abuse, she must forfeit all her visitational rights (supervised visitation may be granted at the discretion of primary custodian) until she completes a state recognized drug rehabilitation program that lasts at least 3 months in duration at her own expense.
    2.1.3.3. The father will pay for all random drug related fees incurred after this mediation; however, the mother will reimburse the father for drug-testing fees associated with each occurence where the mother tests positive.

    So there it is, in a nutshell. Because she did not maintain contact I have the right to refuse to let her visit the children (unless her jail story checks out - I doubt it will) according to the mediation agreement, however, I would like her to see the children and I want her to get help for her addiction.

    Thank you for your comments. They were very helpful.
    Last edited by mrgordan; 01-19-2006 at 12:54 AM. Reason: spelling error
  7. #7
    mrgordan is offline Junior Member
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    Also, I have court admissable evidence proving that she has done cocaine in the past and she admitted to the judge that she has had drug-related problems. According to our agreement, she must stay drug free throughout the year (or have gone through a drug rehabilitation program) and not just when she has the kids so it is not so imperative that I prove when she did drugs as long as her drug use was within the last 90 days.
  8. #8
    ceara19 is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by stealth2
    Ceara - you keep commenting on changes of jurisdiction, but it is not really as simple as you seem to think. As long as one parent continues to reside in the state that originated the orders, that state will generally maintain jurisdiction. You really shouldn't keep on about jurisdiction if you don't understand how it works.
    If he currently has permanent custody, has lived in the new state long enough to establish legal residency and the are currently no issues in front of the court, he can request jurisdiction be move to the state the children are legal residents of for future court actions. Yes, he will have to go through the original court for approval and the new state will have to accept it. Nothing is automatic. Nothing concerning the original order changes. It only means that any FUTURE action will be filed in the new state.

    The original state has the RIGHT to continuing jurisdiction, but most courts have no problem transfering it and lightening up their own case loads a bit.
    Last edited by ceara19; 01-19-2006 at 02:08 AM.
  9. #9
    panzertanker is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrgordan

    How do I document my request that she be drug tested?
    Send CRRR letters requesting the drug testing. Do not call her to tell her you are sending it.
    If they are unanswered, DO NOT OPEN THEM. Save them for the court to see.
    After about 5 refusals or missed drug tests, I would suggest you ask your lawyer how to petition for a modificatin of the current order.
    Quote Originally Posted by mrgordan
    Can I ask the court to order her to take a hair follicle drug test?
    You can ask for modification of the existing decree, but if the court will change it is up to them....
    Quote Originally Posted by mrgordan
    If not, how in the he** can I prove that she is still using drugs if she disappear after each time she uses them?
    See above regarding CRRR letters...

    Good luck!
    I have noticed that even intelligent people ask assinine questions every now and again.
    Disclaimer: I know a few lawyers. None of them is named panzertanker.
  10. #10
    panzertanker is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrgordan
    Because she did not maintain contact I have the right to refuse to let her visit the children (unless her jail story checks out - I doubt it will) according to the mediation agreement, however, I would like her to see the children and I want her to get help for her addiction.
    NO, you do not!
    Do not deny visitation based on what you have posted...

    2.1.1. Any violations of stipulations 2.1.2 or 2.1.3 will result in the reduction of the mothers visitation rights to supervised visitation at the father's discretion

    Based on this, ONLY violation of 2.1.2 or 2.1.3 allows you to allow supervised visitation, at your discretion. Violation of 2.1.3.1 is in regard to contact information.
    2.1.3.1. Urine specimens for drug testing must be provided within 24 hours of notification, and must be physically monitored at time of submission. The mother must provide current contact information where she can be reached within 24 hours

    Clarify this with your attorney BEFORE you deny visitation (or only allow it supervised)!
    I have noticed that even intelligent people ask assinine questions every now and again.
    Disclaimer: I know a few lawyers. None of them is named panzertanker.
  11. #11
    Zephyr is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrgordan
    Thanks for all the comments. To clarify, these are the stipulations in the agreement.

    2.1 Visitation Rights
    2.1.1. Any violations of stipulations 2.1.2 or 2.1.3 will result in the reduction of the mothers visitation rights to supervised visitation at the father's discretion
    2.1.2. No substance abuse, whether it is the abuse of illegal drugs or the abuse of alcohol and / or prescription drugs
    2.1.3. Mother retains full visitation as long as she consent to year-round, random drug testing as a prerquisite to visitation.
    2.1.3.1. Urine specimens for drug testing must be provided within 24 hours of notification, and must be physically monitored at time of submission. The mother must provide current contact information where she can be reached within 24 hours
    2.1.3.2. For each time the mother tests positive for drugs, or is hospitalized for substance abuse, she must forfeit all her visitational rights (supervised visitation may be granted at the discretion of primary custodian) until she completes a state recognized drug rehabilitation program that lasts at least 3 months in duration at her own expense.
    2.1.3.3. The father will pay for all random drug related fees incurred after this mediation; however, the mother will reimburse the father for drug-testing fees associated with each occurence where the mother tests positive.

    So there it is, in a nutshell. Because she did not maintain contact I have the right to refuse to let her visit the children (unless her jail story checks out - I doubt it will) according to the mediation agreement, however, I would like her to see the children and I want her to get help for her addiction.

    Thank you for your comments. They were very helpful.

    I agree with panz- I don't see anywhere in there where it says her failing to maintain contact is grounds for you to deny visitation.....
  12. #12
    snostar is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by weenor
    Now as to hair follicle v. urine...this gets more complicated than you would think. Go back to the beginning and think about why you wanted the drug test to begin with....In our case we wanted the drug test to insure that ex was not using in the child's presence....We were advised that while drug use in general is disfavored, the court really won't do a whole lot if the child is not in imminent danger during the visitation- i.e. if she is not using in the child's presence. Now hair follicle can show use of cocaine within 90 days but does not prove when the person used. Hair follicle in general cannot detect recent cocaine use...In other words it takes approximately one week after use for it to show up in her hair. A urine test will show the cocaine metabolite for up to 72 hours.
    Having done extensive research on hair testing, I completely agree. I will add though that tests can be done to date back prior to 90 days, depending on the length of the hair. The hair can be segmented into monthly intervals (1 inch per month) and tested separately. Of course this becomes costly and in most cases seen as unnecessary. Once the drug enters the blood system, metabolizes and reaches the hair papillae it then begins to appear in new growth within the shaft. Recent use (week prior to sample collection) cannot be detected because that is the standard time period designated for the hair to grow from the keratinization zone to far enough above the scalp to be cut.
  13. #13
    betterthanher Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by ceara19
    Request the test via certified return receipt requested mail. Make sure to note that it can only be signed for by the addressee.
    Actually ask for BOTH regular and certified. There are some people who won't pick up certified mail. My ex tried to pull this crap ONCE and she quickly learned when a couple of days later, she also got a copy sent via regular mail. It didn't look too good on her in court when she wanted more time (and was refused).

    At least if it's served both certified and regular mail (and noted on a certificate of service), there is no excuse.
  14. #14
    snostar is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrgordan
    Thanks for all the comments. To clarify, these are the stipulations in the agreement.

    2.1 Visitation Rights
    2.1.1. Any violations of stipulations 2.1.2 or 2.1.3 will result in the reduction of the mothers visitation rights to supervised visitation at the father's discretion
    2.1.2. No substance abuse, whether it is the abuse of illegal drugs or the abuse of alcohol and / or prescription drugs
    2.1.3. Mother retains full visitation as long as she consent to year-round, random drug testing as a prerquisite to visitation.
    2.1.3.1. Urine specimens for drug testing must be provided within 24 hours of notification, and must be physically monitored at time of submission. The mother must provide current contact information where she can be reached within 24 hours
    2.1.3.2. For each time the mother tests positive for drugs, or is hospitalized for substance abuse, she must forfeit all her visitational rights (supervised visitation may be granted at the discretion of primary custodian) until she completes a state recognized drug rehabilitation program that lasts at least 3 months in duration at her own expense.
    2.1.3.3. The father will pay for all random drug related fees incurred after this mediation; however, the mother will reimburse the father for drug-testing fees associated with each occurence where the mother tests positive.
    Notify the mother as suggested CRRR. Only when you have documented proof of the notification (or refusal to accept) and proof the mother did not consent to the test can you limit visitation to supervised....at your discretion. Then the 2.1.3 stipulation will have been clearly violated.

    I would like her to see the children and I want her to get help for her addiction.
    Good, promote the relationship but protect the children.

    Edit: If I were in your shoes I would file for a modification requesting hair follicle testing, being sure to designate the required labratory (that meets DHHS/SAMHAA guidelines) to administer sample collection, testing and court reporting.
    Last edited by snostar; 01-19-2006 at 08:17 AM.
  15. #15
    snostar is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by weenor
    For now, send certified letters to document your requests...she won't pick them up and she will deny receiving them, but at least you have documentation. Also document each time you requested by phone and any other irratic behavior you know of....I documented 40 pages of crap in the last two years (she refused to take drug tests after 15+ requests with only two in writing) and the GAL found my notes extremely helpful when he recommended supervised visitation.
    Documentation is extremely important. I had a spare room in my house full of it, and regularly sent the GAL and forensic psychologist updates. Making their job easier will benefit anyone's case. Every court appearance my tahoe was packed full...just in case.

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