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5 Situations Where Marijuana Affects Parental Rights

Attorneys at Law Timlin & Rye June 25, 2014

Marijuana has been legalized in Colorado for recreational use, but as a parent, you still need to explain your use to the courts, the local and state government, and attorneys.

In many family law matters, including dependency and neglect cases, and domestic relations cases, the subject of a parent using marijuana has an impact on their parental rights.

In dependency and neglect cases, the county Department of Human Services alleges that children are dependent or neglected due to actions taken, or sometimes inaction, by a parent.

Even though marijuana is legal for recreational use, if the department of human services believes it’s affecting a parent’s ability to care for their children, or places their children in an injurious environment, they may intervene and place restrictions on, or completely deny, a parent’s use of marijuana.

Even worse, a parent may face the risk of having their child temporarily removed from their custody. There are different situations involving a parent’s use of marijuana that causes the department of human services to become involved in their life.

The following are 5 situations where marijuana affects parental rights.

  • The child is exposed to marijuana growing and/or cultivation.

  • A pregnant mother uses marijuana during her pregnancy, and the child tests positive at birth.

  • The child accidentally ingests marijuana, including an edible.

  • The child is exposed to marijuana, marijuana smoke, use, paraphernalia, or residue.

  • A parent is charged with a crime related to marijuana, such as a DUI, child abuse, or illegal possession or use.

Even if a parent has a medical marijuana license, they can still be subjected to restrictions if their family becomes involved with the Department of Human Services.

It is important for all parents involved in the child welfare system to conduct themselves with respect and cooperate with authorities. If the situation arises to the level where court involvement is required, it is critical that they have an attorney who understands their rights and can fight for the best possible result.

In domestic relations cases, such as divorce or allocation of parental responsibilities, instead of the Department of Human Services alleging that a parent’s marijuana use affects their ability to parent, it is often the ex-spouse or the children’s other parent.

Domestic relations courts and judges take allegations of drug and alcohol use very seriously, and if they believe a parent has a drug problem, even with marijuana, they may find their parenting time-restricted or worse.

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