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Marijuana use could cause child custody issues

As the nation continues to grapple with the issue of whether marijuana use should be legalized, many families are uncertain about how use of the drug could affect them in a family law matter. While there is a high degree of voter support for measures aimed at decriminalizing marijuana, it is important to understand that the family court system in Texas and elsewhere has not yet worked out a standard for handling cases in which use of the drug is a factor. Parents can still face serious child custody issues involving drug use, even in parts of the nation where marijuana has been legalized.

One side of the debate on child custody and marijuana asserts that if the drug is legal for recreational use, then it should be treated in much the same way as alcohol consumption. Parents are able to drink while their children are with them at home, at restaurants or sporting events. Unless they become excessively drunk or endanger the lives of their children, no repercussions follow.

From another perspective, many argue that marijuana use is far different in nature from alcohol consumption, and therefore merits a different approach. For one, smoking marijuana results in the presence of secondhand smoke, which could affect children who are in the same space. In addition, storing the drug or related paraphernalia within the reach of a child could be considered to be a harmful act.

For Texas parents who make use of marijuana, whether for medical or recreational purposes, the manner in which such use could impact or lead to child custody issues is not yet known. Family courts do not always produce standardized results, even in cases that do not include drug use. A wide range of factors are considered when a judge hears a child custody case, and the end result can be difficult to predict, especially with little in the way of legal precedent regarding legal marijuana use and custody matters. For anyone facing this type of legal challenge, it is imperative to take an aggressive legal stance in the matter, as quickly as possible.

Source:, "Marijuana's Role in Child-Custody Cases", Randi L. Rubin, July 14, 2015

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