Can Drug Use Impact Illinois Child Custody Decisions?

When a child’s parents are divorced, the family court will try to arrange a resolution where both parents have substantial parenting time and a role in significant decision-making involving the children.

However, the court always considers the child’s best interests first. In cases where parental behavior could be a risk to the child, the court may restrict parental responsibilities. This can happen if a parent has a substance abuse problem. If you need help with parental visitation and have a substance abuse issue, talk to our Skokie child custody attorneys at Gordon & Perlut.

Parental Responsibilities Limited Because Of Drug Use

Alcohol and drug abuse, including cannabis use, can affect your ability to perform your parental responsibilities. Using these substances also can lead to harm to the child. Under state law, the court may restrict parenting time and the ability to make parental decisions if there is substantial evidence that the parent puts the child at risk. Being at risk means affecting their physical, mental, or moral health.

The court may require the parent to stop using or possessing the drug before and during their time with the child. You also may be ordered to attend an alcohol or drug abuse treatment program to continue to be a part of your child’s life. Other restrictions also can be put into place, such as:

  • An order that a responsible party supervises parenting time for the one with the drug problem. This person can be a family member or from the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.
  • A restriction on having other people present when you are with the child, such as those who enable your substance abuse problem.
  • Reducing or eliminating your parenting time and the ability to make decisions for your child.

If you develop a substance abuse problem after the parenting agreement is set up, it can be modified to restrict your visitation and parental responsibilities. Also, you can petition the family court to remove restrictions if you can show you are not a risk to your child.

The New Illinois Marijuana Law

Restrictions have been removed on recreational marijuana use in Illinois recently. However, note that marijuana use can be considered an adverse factor in child custody issues if your actions related to marijuana use create a danger to a child’s safety.

This is somewhat vague, and there is much room for interpretation. For example, the judge could decide that your marijuana use harms the child if you leave the child unsupervised or miss a doctor’s appointment. Therefore, even if your marijuana use is legal in Illinois, always keep your child’s welfare in mind, and remember that your parental rights could be restricted if your cannabis use is not carefully controlled.

Contact Our Skokie Child Support Attorneys

If you are in a child custody dispute in Illinois and have questions about how substance abuse could affect your parental responsibilities, you should talk to an attorney. Contact our Skokie child support attorneys today at 312-360-0250 at Gordon & Perlut, LLC for a complimentary consultation.