Use of illegal drugs will have an extremely negative impact on the visitation or custody privileges of a parent. In the event of prescription medication or illegal drug use, courts in New Mexico will always base their decision on the best interests of the child.
Children’s Best Interests
When a judge deliberates on a child’s physical and legal custody, they will mainly base their decision on their best interests. This is regardless of where they live. The judge will take into account different factors, with the child’s safety and health being the priority. Evidently, drug use could be a legitimate threat to the safety of the child, which will affect their physical and mental health. Additionally, because the judge will predominantly look out for the child, a parent who abuses drugs and has evident mental health problems will probably have supervised visitation privileges, but not custody.
What About Joint Child Custody?
In New Mexico, all judges begin with the assumption that child joint custody and equal visitation privileges are possibly in the child’s best interests, expect if there are issues involved. These issues typically include domestic violence, alcohol abuse, and drug abuse. In case a parent is an addict or an abuser, it will be extremely difficult for him or her to get joint custody.
Drug use could be the single, determining factor in the decision of a judge not to award joint custody to a parent. This is true if the parent has been found using drugs when taking care of the child, says a child custody attorney in Albuquerque. In cases where severe drug problems are an issue, the parent might only have supervised and limited visitation rights due to the parent’s inability or unwillingness to follow court orders related to the drug abuse.
Drug use will reduce the chances of a parent getting sole or joint custody of the child. If you are currently going through a custody case involving drug abuse, consult with an experienced family lawyer to find out what your next step should be.