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What happens in a Massachusetts custody case if a parent uses marijuana?

On Behalf of | Aug 7, 2023 | Firm News |

The simple answer to this question is that mere use of marijuana is legal and does not have any effect on a custody case. Marijuana and alcohol are both legal in Massachusetts. In custody cases, Marijuana is treated the same as alcohol. This means that proof of mere use means virtually nothing.

However, in most contested custody cases where use of marijuana is raised, it is alleged that the person uses marijuana to excess. This is also what happens when allegations of alcohol use are raised in custody cases. Adults are allowed to enjoy alcohol and marijuana. They are not allowed to let alcohol or marijuana affect the way they raise children or drive cars.

The standard for custody in Massachusetts is the best interests of the child standard. This means that when deciding custody, a judge has to decide what custody arrangement is best for the child. A judge can consider marijuana use as a factor when a person uses marijuana in the presence of the children, while driving a car, or in a manner that affects their health or employment. This is the same for a parent who consumes alcohol.

In cases of this nature, the real issue is proving excessive marijuana or alcohol use. Medical records and police reports, if available, should be introduced as evidence. Anecdotal testimony of isolated incidents probably won’t convince a judge but should be introduced anyway. Failure to provide such anecdotal stories may convince a judge that there is no problem.

The courts expect that parents are sober when caring for children. They expect parents to be responsible people who work and earn money to support their family. Excessive marijuana use or alcohol use can be factors when they cause a parent to fail to meet the Judge’s expectations of responsible parents.

Proving excessive marijuana use is not easy. A drug test can show that a person uses a legal substance: marijuana so it doesn’t prove much. An experienced lawyer should be able to advise on the wisdom of raising marijuana use in a custody battle based on the evidence available.  

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