If you are worried that a past drug possession charge will hinder your ability to get custody of and/or see your child, then it’s a good idea to consult with a criminal lawyer in Bloomington, IL. If the drug possession arrest was due to having a drug addiction struggle of your own, there are ways to show the court that you are seeking recovery and want to have a role in raising your child. If the charge was due to an honest mistake that you now regret, it’s important to not lose hope for the child custody outcome.
The Court’s Biggest Concern
Whether or not a past drug possession charge will be a factor in you getting custody depends on several factors. The court’s biggest concern is based on what will be in the best interest of the child. Of course, the court understands just how influential having both parents around as they grow up can be on a young child’s emotional health. However, if they feel that your drug possession past will have a negative impact on the child in some way, then you are unlikely to be awarded full custody. It is still possible that the court will allow you to have joint custody or an abundance of visitation rights so you can still remain a part of your child’s life.
A Parent’s Substance Abuse
The court may take action if the parent’s substance abuse problems, whether alcohol or drugs, hinders his or her ability to properly attend to children’s needs. A parent who put their children in jeopardy in the past because of drug addiction is not likely to obtain custody, and the judge will want to investigate further into the incident before deciding whether visitation should be permitted. Depending on what happened, that parent may only be able to see their children when under the supervision of a court-appointed social worker.
How to Advocate For Yourself
With help from a seasoned family law attorney, you can build a case to advocate for yourself during the child custody hearing. Be open and honest with your attorney about the drug possession charge, so he or she can thoroughly assist you. If you leave out any details of the charge and then what you wanted to remain hidden is brought up by the opposition during the hearing, your attorney will be blindsided. Your attorney may suggest bringing forward evidence that shows the judge:
- Actions you have taken to overcome your drug addiction struggles, such as currently being in or having completed a drug rehabilitation program.
- You visit with a drug addiction therapist on a routine basis to help support you as you seek sobriety.
- Drug testing that shows you have been sober for a consistent period of time.
- Other ways you have made an effort to be a good parent and not let your struggles impact the well being of your children.
Thanks to Pioletti, Pioletti & Nichols for their insight into criminal law and how drug possession can affect child custody.