How Does Cannabis Affect Custody in Florida?
As cannabis moves slowly from serious illegal drug to generally accepted for recreational and medicinal use nationwide, Florida family courts remain largely opposed to the drug. If you are facing a custody battle in Florida, you need to be prepared. This means understanding how your behavior can impact the outcomes. For those seeking to protect their children and provide the best life possible, a faith-based law firm may be just the right option.
Cannabis Law in Florida
First, it is important to note that marijuana is still illegal in Florida. In fact, even medicinal marijuana comes with many exclusions and restrictions. Under Florida law, even minor possession of less than 20 grams is a misdemeanor that can carry fines and even include penalties all the way up to a year in jail.
How Family Courts View Cannabis
It is important to note that in family court, a judge, not a jury, makes all the decisions. So, even if you live in a part of the state where cannabis is gaining widespread acceptance, you will be at the mercy of the judge. Many family court judges have been on the bench for a long time and recall when they would frequently hear evidence and sentence individuals to lengthy jail terms for using marijuana. So, there may already be somewhat of a bias against cannabis use. More importantly, however, even those judges who treat cannabis like alcohol will tend to view the use of the substance as a potential threat to the children. In Florida, Child Protective Services can remove a child when illegal substances are being used in the home, even if not around the children. So, as you may imagine, judges are unlikely to view it favorably in family court.
What to Do if a Former Partner Abuses Cannabis
Reporting a former spouse or partner for using cannabis can be a difficult decision. If you are the parent who does not use illegal substances, you may still feel sympathetic and not believe that it makes a difference. In fact, many completely law-abiding and considerate parents will turn a blind eye and try not to bring it up for fear of what damage it could cause to their ex. This is admirable in many ways, but it may not be the right approach. After all, if your ex is using marijuana, then he or she is technically breaking the law in the same home where your children reside part of the time. Being aware of this and making it known to the court is the right thing to do. Of course, it may be advisable to first attempt to mediate the issue and resolve it outside of court.
What Can Happen if Cannabis Use Continues
If a parent continues to use an illegal substance – regardless of whether it should be illegal or not – it could result in a CPS hotline call, police involvement, or even the individual being arrested. Imaging your children being present when police arrest a parent. This type of trauma should be avoided at all cost. If you suspect that your ex-partner is using illegal substances, you need to speak with an attorney right away. At the Sejour-Gustave Law Firm, PLLC, we put years of legal experience to work for you. And by letting our faith be a guide, you be assured that you will receive compassionate and caring counsel at every step.