A court ordered drug test is a type of legal step that is taken in cases when parents abuse drugs.
If a parent is abusing drugs, or alcohol, or using illicit substances, it is considered that the parent is exposing children to potential harm.
The use of drugs by a parent is a serious concern in family courts, and the court’s paramount consideration is the child’s best interests. If the court thinks that the abuse of drugs by a parent can threaten the safety and well-being of the child, it can make court orders accordingly.
This also means that the results of a court ordered drug test can influence child custody decisions.
The drug test result can potentially change how child custody arrangements are made between the two parties, including how much time a parent can spend with the child, and the kind of contact they can have with the child.
This article will discuss what a court ordered drug test is, how to inform the court about the supposed drug abuse by a parent, and what the implications could be for the parent if the results of the drug test are positive.
What Is A Court Ordered Drug Test?
Court orders that require a party to submit to a drug test are known as a court ordered drug test.
If a party raises the concern that a parent is abusing drugs, a court ordered drug test will require the parent to undergo certain tests to check if the parent is using drugs or other illicit substances.
A court ordered drug test can be made if: –
- One party has requested that a court make a drug test order against the other party
- The court can make such orders if they have a suspicion and think that the child’s safety is at risk.
- The Independent Children’s Lawyers, the body that represents the child’s best interests, can also request a drug test.
What Are The Types Of A Court Ordered Drug Test?
Hair Follicle Drug Test
A hair follicle drug test can determine the person’s pattern of drug abuse over a period of time of up to three months.
A hair follicle test involves testing a sample of hair from the person’s head. This type of test can determine both the use of one particular drug or the use of several drugs.
Alcohol tests usually involve blood tests to check the person’s liver for signs of damage. If the liver damage as reflected by the test is of a high amount, it is understood that the party has been abusing alcohol for a significant amount of time.
A court ordered drug test can be a urine analysis, also called a urinalysis or urine testing. Through this type of test, the court orders a supervised urine analysis for the use of illicit substances.
The court might order that a urine analysis needs to be done regularly if drug use is common, or in some cases, a urine analysis test can be ordered at random, usually when suspicion about drug use has been raised.
How To Approach The Court For This Matter?
For the court to ask the relevant party to get a court ordered drug test, the parties are required to submit a Notice Of Risk document.
In this document, they are required to disclose any allegations against the other party that they have, which put the child at risk of neglect, or abuse, or any other harm.
After this, it is up to the court to decide whether or not there is a need for a drug test. In other words, the court can exercise its discretion in deciding if a drug test needs to be taken by the party.
If the party refuses to take the drug test, the court presumes a positive test result and makes decisions accordingly.
Drug testing can continue for as long as the court orders. In some cases, they will be satisfied with the results within the matter of a few months, or in other cases, if they feel it necessary, the drug test can go on for an extended period – even two years.
What Happens In Case Of A Positive Drug Test Result?
It is important to note that although a positive drug test result can change decisions about child custody matters, it is not necessary that this will always be the case.
It is especially important to note that a positive drug result does not result in a suspension of child custody.
All family law matters are dealt with on a case-by-case basis. In case of positive results, the parent can still have an influence over the child, if the court is convinced that the drug use was more for recreational purposes, rather than because of an addiction.
However, dependence on drugs can lead to extreme issues like emotional unavailability, which can have severe impacts on the child’s life and development.
In these matters, the court can make a different order. For instance, the court may order that the parent has reduced time with the child, or that any time that the parent spends with the child, and any visits that the parent makes will need to be supervised.
Importance Of Legal Guidance
Under Family Law, cases including children, and custody matters especially, are the most complicated cases in Family Court proceedings.
It is already excessively stressful when dealing with custody cases in Family Courts. To add to this stress, when allegations of drugs and illicit substance abuse is involved, the court cases become more complicated.
To ensure that you know how to navigate through these processes efficiently, you need appropriate legal assistance.
Contact our team of friendly and experienced lawyers today.