When Do Family Law Courts Order Drug Tests?

Pleasanton CA child custodyAs parents feud over custody rights, it’s not uncommon for them to toss allegations at one another in an attempt to disparage the other parent and win points with the family law courts. A common allegation involves the claims that a parent is abusing drugs or any other illicit substance. 

Whether the claims have any merit or not, this can expose all parties to court-ordered drug tests. To help you prepare for your upcoming custody and divorce proceedings, here’s what you need to know about court-ordered drug tests in CA.

Circumstances Which Warrant Court-Ordered Drug Tests

Family Code section 3041.5 permits family law courts to subject any individual seeking custody or visitation to a drug test, but only if there are allegation or evidence of substance abuse. So while an ex can certainly try to have the family law courts conduct a drug test out of spite, there is more to it than simply raising one’s hand and making the request. 

This often requires evidence, whether it comes in the form of corroborating testimony from social workers, law enforcement, hospital documents, etc. If there is probable cause, note that family law courts have the authority to continuously drug test an individual for as long as they wish to retain custody and visitation rights. 

Typically, court-ordered drug tests are the least intrusive possible which usually means urine tests rather than hair follicle tests. It is possible to request more intrusive, accurate testing but this too needs to be backed by facts and justified in court. 

Implications of a Positive Drug Test in Family Law Court

Note that the same Family Code makes one thing clear: a positive drug test is not immediate grounds for implications to custody rights, at least not on its own. The individual could opt to challenge the tests of the results, and even if deemed accurate, the results simply create a rebuttable presumption against awarding sole custody to this individual rather than stripping away parental rights. 

Talk to CA Family Law Attorney Today

This is where the help of a family law attorney is critical. Not only can an experienced divorce attorney let you know exactly what to expect and how to proceed with this type of matter, they can also help you build a strong case that can help justify a stronger reaction from the courts. 

Whether you’re looking to have an ex drug tested or are trying to ensure your parental rights are not violated by the other parent, know that we at the Law Offices of James P. White are here ot help. Give us a call at 925-271-0999 to book a free initial consultation with our skilled family law attorneys.