Arizona Prop 207, which allows adults over the age of 21 to legally possess and use marijuana for recreational purposes, was approved by voters in 2020. Now those over the age of 21 can possess and use marijuana without the fear of prosecution. Arizona residents are now allowed to visit a registered dispensary and buy marijuana for recreational use. However, because it is legal does not mean its use is without consequence. In this blog, we will go over some considerations to keep top of mind if you’re going through a divorce and are thinking about marijuana’s impact on child custody.
Is There Any Impact on Custody?
It could have an impact on custody. When tensions between parents are high, they may resort to extreme measures to convince the court to grant primary custody to one of them. Despite the fact that marijuana is now legal, many parents still try to use their ex’s marijuana use as a bargaining chip in child custody disputes.
The legalization of alcohol is analogous to the decriminalization of cannabis in that both can result in parental alienation and the loss of a child’s custody if the parent is a habitual drunkard who broadcasts his or her binge drinking online. It could be used as evidence against you if you regularly write about being high, especially when taking care of a child. To put it bluntly (no pun intended), child custody cases shouldn’t be affected by your decision to use marijuana recreationally if you use common sense.
- It’s a good idea to keep your kids out of the presence of your marijuana use. Stay sober if you have to take care of them at any point of the day.
- It’s still a good idea to lock up your supplies, even if you only use them sometimes.
- Paraphernalia should be locked up or stored where children cannot access it.
- If you have any snacks lying around, hide them so the kids won’t find them when they’re looking for something to snack on before baseball or gymnastics practice.
- In a nutshell, exercise caution the exact same way you would with alcohol.
Know the Difference Between Moderation and Abuse
Up to this point, this blog has been written under the assumption of your moderate marijuana usage. However, if there’s more habitual intake involved, that raises another more substantial problem.
Whichever substance you use—be it cocaine, meth, or alcohol—addiction and dependency will have something to say on the issue of who ultimately ends up with custody. The point is: Marijuana isn’t unique. Just because it’s legal in Arizona and you’re allowed to use recreationally doesn’t insulate you from the consequences.
You can get alcohol at every corner store in America. But if overindulgence or addiction becomes an issue in your ordinary life, they will become liabilities in your custody case, as it hinders your capacity as a parent, guardian, and provider.
There are no set-in-stone criteria or procedures relating to finding out if and how marijuana affects child custody proceedings. Realistically, the practical application of the law differs from judge to judge and court to court. Each scenario plays out according to the peculiarities of the people concerned. Maybe it won’t come up at all, but maybe your ex may try to use it against you.
Be Aware of The Stigma
Legally speaking, your recreational marijuana use shouldn’t have any bearing on your child custody case. The caricature of the stoner as a slob who can’t keep anything straight still exists. It’s possible that certain people will give more weight to it than others, but regardless, you ought to be aware that it exists. Especially because it’s tough to predict how other people will react. You and your pals may not give it a second thought, but it’s not unreasonable to assume that there are negative connotations with marijuana use, especially in older Americans.
Think of marijuana consumption in terms of alcohol. Whether you prefer bourbon or merlot, you’re still drinking. It may have an effect on your case even though it’s legal. If it limits your skillset as a parent, impairs your judgment, or becomes a habit, it may be brought up in court. In a contentious custody battle, your ex could try to exploit the fact that you’re a regular pot smoker against you. Once more, booze serves as a useful analogy. If you spend every night in a pub, that’s sure to come up. In short, it is essential to err on the side of caution when it comes to marijuana use and your custody case, despite the fact that the drug is now legal and public opinion is shifting on the subject.
Your Arizona Child Custody Attorneys
Stewart Law Group understands that issues regarding child custody are difficult and must be handled with care and respect for your objectives and your family dynamic. We aren’t here to simply draft and file paperwork; we help you navigate one of the most difficult periods of your life and prepare for a new beginning. Feel free to reach out by calling, emailing, or filling out a case evaluation form to discuss your legal options.