Drug and alcohol testing and family law proceedings

Posted on Sep 25, 2017 by Samantha Miller   |   Categories: Family Law

Unfortunately there are a considerable number of cases where one parent has a problem with alcohol or drugs (legal or illicit) which impacts upon their ability to provide suitable parenting to their children. The parent without the addiction is understandably concerned to ensure the children’s safety after the break down of a relationship.

If an allegation of drug use endangering children is made then the courts will take it very seriously. The courts are required to ensure that there is not an “unacceptable risk” to the children by being cared for by that parent and balance this against the desire to provide a meaningful relationship with that parent (where appropriate).

One tool the courts have is the power to order that a parent undertake drug testing either randomly or at regular intervals to the extent that it can require testing within 24 hours of any time spent with the children. Even if the alleged drug use is denied drug testing is still likely to be ordered.

The testing available includes saliva, urine and hair. The different types of testing have different uses with saliva and urine being best for short term testing and hair providing a longer term summary of patterns of drug use.

Often in cases where drug use is established and it is impacting parenting ability the services of a contact centre may be required to supervise time spent with the children. The goal is always for this to be a short term solution but it can continue indefinitely.

As you would expect there are significant cost implications involved in drug testing which need to be taken into consideration.