Written by Jonathan Breeden
If you are involved in a family court matter in North Carolina, you might wonder if you can be forced to take a drug test. A drug test might be relevant in many situations, especially involving the safety of children. Thus, there are circumstances where the court may order one or both people involved in the case to submit to a drug test.
Drug use can affect your family law case. North Carolina law states that excessive use of drugs or alcohol is a reason for divorce. Even for something as simple as a divorce from bed and board, a court might grant your spouse the divorce because of your drug use.
Drug use commonly affects cases involving children. Child custody and visitation matters will consider parents’ drug use, even if those drugs are legal in some circumstances.
A party may have a problem with illegal substances, prescription drugs, or alcohol. Any excessive use or abuse may be viewed negatively by the court. Marijuana use has been decriminalized, but it’s still illegal in North Carolina and will be viewed negatively in most situations. Even though many people agree that medical marijuana has some benefits, the court will not see it that way.
Suppose the court determines that you excessively use any type of drugs, including prescription or over-the-counter medications or alcohol. In that case, they may refer you to a treatment program or make an unfavorable ruling in your family law matter.
A just may order a drug test for one or both parties in a family law matter. A drug test is not always ordered in family law matters. There must be a reason that it is brought about in court. Your ex may request a drug test, or there may be a history of substance use.
If you are involved in an outside criminal drug case, your family law court may also request a drug test from your probation officer.
Your ex cannot order a drug test. They can only request one and express why they think a drug test is necessary. Only the judge in your case can order a drug test.
The court may order one or both parties to pay for the drug test. In most cases, each party will have to pay for their own drug test. However, if your ex requested that you be tested, they may be ordered to pay for it. If you test positive, you may be ordered to reimburse them.
If your court-ordered drug testing is positive, you may face negative consequences in family court.
North Carolina is a no-fault divorce state, but drug use can be grounds for divorce from bed and board. The court may be more likely to grant your spouse a divorce and award them other things like alimony, spousal support, or property.
If a drug test is positive and the case involves children, the family court will do what is in the child’s best interests. That may mean awarding child custody to the other parent or limiting visitation. You may even be required to have supervised visitation for a period.
The family court may require you to seek treatment to remove the limitations on visitation, custody, or other negative consequences of your drug use. While going through treatment, you may have to take parenting classes and be subjected to random drug testing.
If you are involved in a family court case and have concerns about a drug test, you should immediately reach out to a lawyer at Breeden Law Office. Our legal professionals will review your case and help you understand your options.