How drug charges may affect child custody

If you struggle with drug addiction, you might be wondering how it will impact the outcome of your divorce, particularly as it relates to your kids. You might have concerns about how past drug convictions may affect your legal rights relating to child custody and visitation. 

While there is no clear-cut rule about how drug problems impact your relationships with your kids, you can expect it to be something that the court will discuss and consider. 


One possible outcome is that the other parent will get sole custody of your children while you receive certain visitation rights. Depending on the severity and relevancy of your drug abuse, you may only get supervised visitation. The court may also require you to take a drug test before seeing your children.


If the court knows you are dealing with an ongoing drug problem, a judge may deny custody. However, if your charges were dropped or you have remained sober for an extended period of time, you might be able to get custody. But if the court finds out you go back to using drugs, it may take any granted custody away. 

Parental rights

You could risk losing your parental rights if you have a severe and perpetual drug problem. While the law generally wants parents and children to have an ongoing relationship, yours could be in jeopardy if you do not seek to resolve your drug abuse issues.


The judge could order that you attend rehabilitation. This could include attending a Narcotics Anonymous meeting or getting treated by a substance abuse therapist. The court could award you parenting time or unsupervised visits if you demonstrate consistent sobriety, according to LiveStrong.

Any criminal charges or activity could influence the outcome of your visitation or custody hearings. This is just a look at what could happen. For advice regarding your specific case, talk to an attorney. 

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