How Does Marijuana Use Factor into Custody Decisions?

Recreational marijuana has been legal in Colorado for some time now. Still, there are a lot of questions about how a person's marijuana use might affect other legal issues. This is especially true when it comes to family law issues like child custody and parenting time.

There's no one answer to how a parent's marijuana use will affect their ability to get custody or parenting time. Instead, the court will consider a variety of factors to make a decision based on the best interests of the child.

Frequency of use

There's a big difference between someone who smokes a little pot once in a while and someone who gets stoned every day. Much like with alcohol, occasional social use will be treated differently than behavior that looks like addiction or chemical dependency.

Impact on parenting behavior

A history of being intoxicated around the children, driving while stoned, and similar behavior are big red flags. Courts are rightly wary of placing children in potentially dangerous living situations.

Similarly, Colorado law asks the court to consider the parent's overall involvement in the child's life. Does the parent spend time with the child, get involved in school and community activities, and provide emotional and moral support? Or has the parent's marijuana use caused them to grow distant or miss important events?

Age of the child

The child's age will also be a factor, especially if the parent stores or grows pot in the home. For example, little kids get into everything they can get their hands on. A small child could mistake a marijuana edible for a delicious treat and get very sick. A teenager might be tempted to take a parent's marijuana for their own personal use.

Of course, these are just a few of the issues that could come up. As always, if you have a question about a legal issue, it is best to discuss it with an experienced family law attorney.