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The Effect Of Drug And Alcohol Use On Custody Determinations

Actors Brad Pitt and actress Angelina Jolie have reached a temporary conclusion over custody of the couple’s children. The couple appears to have agreed to a deal proposed by the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services. Both Jolie and Pitt have agreed to go through individual counseling sessions. Pitt has also agreed to undergo drug and alcohol testing. Various reports claim that the divorce was fueled by Pitt’s use of alcohol and drugs. In light of this situation, it is particularly important for divorcing parents to understand the effect that drug and alcohol use have on custody determinations.

How Tests Are Conducted

If a court is concerned about the best interest of a child or children in a case or if there have been problems with domestic violence that have been fueled by drugs or alcohol, a court is likely to request that an individual be tested for drugs or alcohol. Drug testing can have a significant influence on the outcome of a custody case. In the state of Texas, a sudden order by a court for a parent to submit to a drug test is legal. If the order requires a parent to submit to a test immediately, a court will often be prepared to administer the test before the parent is able to leave the courthouse building.

Types Of Tests That Are Administered

There are three types of tests that are used in the state of Texas to detect the presence of alcohol and drugs in an individual’s system. Each of these tests has various strengths and weaknesses:

  • As one of the most common tests, urine tests look for the presence of drugs or alcohol in an individual’s system. Drugs are detectable in an individual’s urine for a period of time after ingestion. Urine tests, however, do not identify when the drugs or alcohol were ingested.
  • Hair Testing. A popular tool for determining drug use, hair testing is able to detect a wider time period in which an individual might have used drugs. Hair testing can analyze drug use that occurred ninety days before the sample in question was taken. Hair follicles, however, are susceptible to manipulation and are not often relied upon by courts as the sole testing methods.
  • Nail Testing. Nail testing provides the longest window of detection and is the most difficult sample to manipulate. These tests can trace drug use that occurred six months prior to the date the sample as taken.

The Effect of Failing A Test

If a parent fails a drug or alcohol test, a court usually removes custody or visitation rights from that individual on a temporary or permanent basis. A court might respond by ordering supervised visits, in which the parent can only spend time with the child or children if another adult is present.

Contact An Experienced Family law Lawyer

If you are involved in a custody case that has the potential to involve drug testing, it is a wise idea to retain the services of experienced legal counsel like a Houston lawyer at Lindamood & Robinson, P.C. who has significant experience helping individuals prepare and successfully handle these types of events. We are prepared to help you today.



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