Substance Use and Abuse In Colorado Divorce and Family Law Cases
Substance use and abuse can play an important role in Colorado Springs parenting matters. Such issues are unfortunately not uncommon in child and family investigations. Mood-altering substances can negatively impact a parent’s ability to care for children. Commonly used substances are alcohol, marijuana, and prescription medications not used as prescribed. The substances may distort the user’s mental and emotional state in various ways.Marijuana
Because marijuana is legal in Colorado, marijuana use alone is not sufficient to impact parenting time provisions. However, if there is any negative impact on the child of the use, then that may be a factor. For example, if a parent uses marijuana in front of the children that is a concern, as the child will experience secondhand smoke. A child may also be negatively impacted by a parent’s change in demeanor while using substances. The use of marijuana is still illegal under federal law. Parents have a constitutional right to parent and the bar to restrict time is high. For example, supervised parenting time requires a finding of endangerment to the children. Additionally it is against Colorado law to grow marijuana in close proximity to children.Motions for Drug and Alcohol Testing
To request drug or alcohol testing in parenting matters, there must be
- a controversy over the mental or physical condition of a parent or custodian;
- a showing of good cause; and
- notice to the person to be examined about the time, place, manner, conditions, and scope of the examination.
A requester will have to show how the use negatively impacts the children. Use alone is not enough, even of illegal drugs. Testing has to be completed no later than 28 days prior to the final orders hearing. The motion should specify what type of drug or alcohol testing is requested. It is important to remember that if one party requests testing, the other party may make the same request or the court may order both parties to be tested on its own initiative.
Several types of drug and alcohol testing are available, including urine analysis, breathalyzers, vehicle interlock devices, blood serum analysis, saliva analysis, and hair follicle testing. Many substances are undetectable in urine after 48 to 72 hours. Due to the notice requirement where the party to be tested has 21 days to respond to the motion, the tested party will have sufficient time to clear these substances from his or her system. Hair testing has a longer 90-day window where many substances can be detected, however alcohol is difficult to detect. Thus it is important to have an idea of what substance is being abused when determining what testing is appropriate. It is possible to request more than one type of testing.
Additional requests to consider are:
- frequency of testing;
- Length of testing;
- who is entitled to see the results; and/or
- consequences for a failure to comply
An attorney can guide you through Colorado Springs divorce and family law matters by negotiating, mediating and litigating. This allows you to focus on moving forward to a better future rather than on spending your time trying to figure out the overly complex court system. Colorado Springs Divorce and family law matters are difficult to navigate alone. The court system is more complex than it should be. Change can be stressful, however it can lead to a better future. Janko Family Law helps ensure that your best interests are protected and that you are aware of your legal rights and obligations.
Contact us at 719-344-5523 or complete our online form to set up a free thirty-minute informational consultation.