Drug Abuse and Parenting Time

Drug Abuse and Parenting Time

What to do if you suspect your ex is using drugs

Divorce is difficult for every family, especially when children are involved. You want your kids to be happy and healthy between households, yet sometimes concerns and suspicions crop up. You need to know your kids are safe when they’re with your ex.

Unfortunately, Indiana drug use ranks fifth in the U.S., and our state ranks even higher than the national average for opioid-related deaths. Sadly, those numbers continue to climb. So what do you do if you suspect your ex is using drugs?

Drug Screening and Parenting Time

In July 2019, Indiana made revisions to family law regarding drug use and parenting time. Judges can now lean into a new statute requiring a parent to submit to drug testing to maintain parenting time. So if you suspect your ex is under the influence of drugs while around your kids, a judge can order your ex to take a drug test (urine and/or hair follicle testing).

Signs of Drug Abuse

The opioid crisis and other drug use is claiming the lives of many good Hoosiers, and while you may think your ex would never fall victim, sometimes the unthinkable happens. To best protect your kids, stay vigilant, and look out for these warning signs of drug abuse:

Physical Changes

  • bloodshot/yellowing eyes
  • dilated pupils
  • injection marks on skin
  • facial sores
  • consistent sniffling/sneezing
  • dramatic weight loss

Changed Behavior

  • mood swings/anxiety
  • irrational responses or unusual behavior
  • excessive drowsiness
  • loss of motivation
  • unusual friends/new crowd
  • acting secretively or suspiciously
  • hyperactivity

If you suspect something’s going on, trust your gut. Social media can sometimes give clues as to what kinds of activities people have been participating in. Also, keep your eye out for drug paraphernalia in and around your ex’s home and vehicle. Use your instincts, and if something seems awry, take note.

Your Next Steps

Drug and safety issues raise a lot of questions for divorced families. What if my ex does drugs the night before they have the kids? What about marijuana, even if it’s legalized in other states? Do alcohol and other legal drugs count? The truth is solid guidelines are lacking, which creates a lot of gray areas for parents. But there are some steps you can take to protect your children.

  1. Keep calm. It can feel stressful and even scary if you suspect your ex is abusing drugs, but it’s essential to keep your cool. Contact your attorney right away to discuss options available to protect your children.
  2. Gather evidence.
    Without invading anyone’s privacy, keep track of all communications and any suspicious behavior. That could mean archiving emails and texts, social media posts, or even photos of questionable items like possible drug paraphernalia. If you and your ex discuss the issue or your children share information with you, take a moment afterward to document what was said and list any witnesses.
  3. Seek legal counsel ASAP.
    Bring any evidence you’ve collected and discuss your concerns with a trusted lawyer. Every case is unique, and it takes an experienced family law attorney to determine your best course of action.

With so much at stake, navigating a divorce and ongoing family matters is never easy. That’s why you must partner with a credible family law attorney who has you and your children’s’ best interests at heart. If you’re considering divorce or need advice about a current divorce or custody situation, we are here to help. Contact Kisti Good Risse at (765) 637-9173.

Disclaimer:
The content of this blog is intended to be general and informational in nature. It is advertising material and is not intended to be, nor is it, legal advice to or for any particular person, case, or circumstance. Each situation is different, and you should consult an attorney if you have any questions about your situation.

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