Drug Testing in Child Custody and Child Support Cases

It is important to understand that in a child custody battle, custody and child support matters can often get contentious. For a parent that is in a contentious divorce, do not be surprised if an ex-partner files a motion that forces you to submit to a drug test. Should the ex-partner file such a motion, the decision will then be left in the judge’s hands whether or not the motion should be granted.

Further, a judge can independently decide that a drug test should be ordered for one or both parents that are seeking custody. Most often, a judge will only grant or order a drug test when he or she has reason to believe that one or both of the parents is abusing drugs. The legal standard that justifies a judge ordering a drug test is the often used best interests of the child standard. Whether you find yourself involved in a child custody or child support case, the best interests of a child are typically severely impacted by parents that are abusing drugs. For this reason, drug tests are an essential part of the custody and child support matters when drug abuse is suspected.

Once a drug allegation is made, it is imperative to take quick and decisive steps to either prove or disprove the allegation, depending on which side of the aisle you fall on as a parent. Drug testing is usually the primary way to do just that.

Proving or Disproving a Drug Use Allegation

For any parent that has been accused by an ex-partner of abusing drugs, that parent should understand that there is a serious risk of losing custody, having restricted visitation rights and being subjected to frequent drug testing. Additionally, the courts will look less favorably on a drug abusing parent for child support matters as well. Naturally, parents who are accused of abusing drugs will likely want to disprove the allegation, and the other partner must prove that the allegations are founded.

There are plenty of ways a parent can go about proving or disproving the allegation, but drug testing is a tried and true method. Parents that know they have not used drugs will readily request a drug test, and will often insist that both parents take a drug test in order for the other parent to prove that they are clean as well. In the best case, a drug test will either prove or disprove the substance abuse to the satisfaction of the parent, depending on which outcome the parent hopes to achieve.

While the process may sound straightforward and easy to grasp, drug and alcohol testing can actually be difficult to understand. Experienced attorneys can help you navigate these issues efficiently while also presenting the test conclusions in the most favorable way when it comes time to show the results to the judge. One example of this is the way illegal drug testing is handled. Urine tests are typically not accurate enough for illegal drug use when compared to hair follicle and nail tests. These tests can provide results that date as far back as six months, whereas urine tests are not as effective and test short-term periods by comparison.

If you are a parent that fears a hair follicle test because of one bad mistake four months ago, for example, an attorney can fight for your right to only undergo a urine test. On the other hand, if you know that your ex-partner is a habitual drug abuser, your attorney can present your case to a judge in the most favorable light, which could increase the likelihood of a hair and nail drug test. In South Carolina, it is fairly standard operating procedure that a judge will order a hair strand test for both parties, which is why it helps to have an experienced attorney who will fight to help this be prevented if necessary since an unfavorable result would likely prevent the parent from having custody.

If you are concerned about a South Carolina drug testing issue that could affect your child custody or child support case, discuss the facts of your case with our experienced South Carolina divorce attorneys that will provide you with the legal help you need.