What are my chances of getting custody of my son if the mother is doing drugs? 27 Answers as of December 06, 2011

My son is in custody of his mother who is doing drugs and has a live-in boyfriend who has been arrested numerous times for possession of drugs. My son thinks that they are both doing drugs and the boyfriend has been arrested in their home for contempt of court. My son is taking care of a young sibling while the mother sleeps a lot. It is obvious that he is being neglected. What are my chances of getting custody?

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Fox Law Firm LLC
Fox Law Firm LLC | Tina Fox
Sounds like you have a very good case based upon these facts alone, but you must also prove that you are well off to care for the child and that it is in the best interest of the child that he is cared for by you and that you are able to do so.
Answer Applies to: Illinois
Replied: 12/5/2011
Law Office of Michael W. Bugni
Law Office of Michael W. Bugni | Jay W. Neff
It is probably going to depend on what the procedural history of the case is to this point, and just how bad/dangerous/long standing her drug problem is, and finally, how clean you are. Beyond that, it is hard to tell you too much at this point.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 12/5/2011
Beaulier Law Office
Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
Custody cases are always difficult. Alleging that a parent is using drugs is only half the battle. you must also demonstrate that it affects the care of the children. To effectively present your case, you should consult with experienced legal counsel.
Answer Applies to: Minnesota
Replied: 12/5/2011
Marca Tanner Attorney at Law | Marca Tanner
Your chances of getting custody are probably pretty good. However, you would likely need to call DCFS and report your belief that the children are being neglected. You will have to file a petition to modify custody under your divorce decree, OR, if you were not married to the mother, you would need to file a Petition for Custody outright. Having the DCFS report on that agency's files could allow for a state appointed and paid for guardian ad litem to represent the best interests of your son. Also called a GAL, the court listens to whatever the guardian ad litem says, almost without fail, since he/she is a neutral party in a custody action. The GAL will visit with the child, parents, school personnel, anyone who may have information regarding the child's best interests, and make a report to the court. If the GAL determines that it is in the child's best interest for that child to live with you, you will more than likely be granted custody. Without a GAL, it can be a very time consuming process, because the court has to determine whether you or the mother are more credible. Without report of neglect or abuse, the state will not pay for a GAL, and that can be very costly.
Answer Applies to: Utah
Replied: 12/3/2011
Law Office of Lenore Tsakanikas, PLLC
Law Office of Lenore Tsakanikas, PLLC | Lenore Tsakanikas
Based upon the information in your e-mail, I would say your chances are pretty good. This is assuming that you do not have any issues with drugs, domestic violence, or other similar issues.
Answer Applies to: Arizona
Replied: 12/3/2011
    Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
    Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
    Based on the facts you set out below, I would say good. The question I have to ask you is can you prove any of it? Opinions, intuition, etc. are great, but they are not evidence. If you are solidly convinced, hire a lawyer, get your information together, ask for a TRO or Emergency Orders and demand a drug test on her. Will you pass a drug test? You have better be able. NEVER, NEVER, NEVER accuse the other side of drug use unless you can pass a drug test too. You are poking a sleeping bear if you do. Most courts when asked to do a drug test on one side, will order both parents to submit to a drug test. The big question is can you get dirt on the boy-friend? I suggest you look for a lawyer that handles a substantial amount of family law and some criminal law. NOT the type of lawyer who can handle a criminal matter, one who does it routinely and knows how to get information from the TCIS/NCIS or even from the probation department, etc.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 12/2/2011
    Dunnings Law Firm
    Dunnings Law Firm | Steven Dunnings
    Fairly good depending on how well you can document the mother's drug usage. How old is the oldest child. Why hasn't child protective services been called. Why haven't you filed a motion to keep the boyfriend away from the kids.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 12/2/2011
    Petit & Dommershausen SC
    Petit & Dommershausen SC | Tajara Dommershausen
    First custody and placement are two different things. It is unusual not to have joint custody but from these facts you should be able to get primary placement. Call an attorney in your local area to discuss.
    Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
    Replied: 12/2/2011
    The Law Office of Erin Farley
    The Law Office of Erin Farley | Erin Farley
    The focus should not be on your "chances", but on your children's safety and well-being. You have an obligation as a parent to protect your children. Living with an addict is an abusive situation, and living in the presence of drugs is putting them in harm's way. You have no choice but to protect these children. If you strongly believe this is happening, you should call Child Protective Services and/or get into court immediately.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/2/2011
    Ashman Law Office
    Ashman Law Office | Glen Edward Ashman
    No one can give you odds, but getting a lawyer improves your chances and not having a lawyer reduces them to near zero.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 12/2/2011
    Donaldson Stewart, PC
    Donaldson Stewart, PC | Monica H. Donaldson Stewart
    Although I can't speak to your "chances," if you have reason to believe that the mother is using illegal drugs and that she is unable to properly care for your son, I recommend you speak with an attorney to discuss the process for asking the court to order drug testing and to seek the appropriate modification of any current orders.
    Answer Applies to: Arizona
    Replied: 12/2/2011
    Goldberg Jones
    Goldberg Jones | Zephyr Hill
    I cannot guess at your chances because I do not know who you are or what all the other details are. But I can tell you that if your son is neglected or in a dangerous situation, than you should call CPS and have them look into these allegations. You should also make every effort to provide a better home for him. Once you have prepared yourself and gathered the evidence, file an Order to Show Cause to request a change of custody. If your son is old enough, he might even testify in some capacity and request to live with you. Get a good custody lawyer on your side if at all possible.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/1/2011
    Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser
    Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser | Donald F. Conviser
    It depends largely upon the quality of your legal representation. You will need to get sufficient evidence before the court to justify a change of custody, and there are sophisticated rules about what kind of evidence can get in, how to lay a proper foundation for that evidence, who can present testimony, how to deal with objections, etc., so you should retain an experienced Family Law Attorney to represent you in your custody case.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/1/2011
    Pierce Family Law | Rodney Pierce
    A major modification of a parenting plan requires significant facts as the court wants to maintain the primary parent unless there is a "substantial" change of circumstances. Proof of drug use around your child is important information. What is the level of proof? The courts do not want to hear from the children as the change of parenting should be done by the court with the parents. Are there witnesses that can testify as to the drug use? How does it affect parenting? Is the mother employed and able to perform her duties at work? I would suggest that you contact a family law attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 12/1/2011
    Law Office of Margaret D. Wilson
    Law Office of Margaret D. Wilson | Margaret Wilson
    In California if everything you are say is true and there is nothing at all negative in your history then you would stand a good chance of getting at the very least more custody time.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/1/2011
    Linda C. Garrett Law
    Linda C. Garrett Law | Linda Garrett
    Pretty good if you can: 1) prove she is doing drugs (to offset an argument that you are lying); 2) her drug-use is not medicinal and is negatively impacting your child, e.g. she is unable to meet your child's basic needs, e.g. food, medical, education, etc.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/1/2011
    T. Mack Taylor LLC | Mack Taylor
    Depending on the particular judge there is a good chance for both reasons. Drug use and live-ins usually makes the decision automatic provided you the father can offer a suitable living arrangement.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 12/1/2011
    Peyton and Associates | Barbara Peyton
    The chances are very good if you can prove it and if you are not abusing a substance. Remember, though, that the Court's goal (and should be the parties' goal) is parent-child contact and reunification. So, if you get full custody with supervised parenting for the mother, if she is willing to do the work and get clean, eventually custody will be share if she stays clean.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/1/2011
    Wolfstone, Panchot & Bloch, P.S., Inc.
    Wolfstone, Panchot & Bloch, P.S., Inc. | Mark Brown
    If you can gather the evidence to present these facts to the court, the court will intervene to protect the children. Consult with an experienced family law attorney to determine how to present your concerns to a judge.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 12/1/2011
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law | John Kirchner
    Apparently you are not now and have never been married to the mother, so it is even more difficult to predict the outcome of a paternity/custody fight without know a lot more about the situation. If you and the mother cannot agree on a suitable parenting plan, the court will decide based solely on what is in the best interests of the child after consideration of all relevant facts. You need to consult an attorney or contact the child protective services office.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 12/1/2011
    Law Offices of Arlene D. Kock
    Law Offices of Arlene D. Kock | Arlene D. Kock
    With the arrest and other concerns, the best approach is to hire a skilled family law attorney to file a motion for a custody change and random drug testing.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/1/2011
    Joanna Mitchell & Associates, P.A.
    Joanna Mitchell & Associates, P.A. | Joanna Mitchell
    If there has been a substantial change in circumstances, such that your son's current living situation is no longer in his best interest, then you need to file a supplemental petition for modification and consult with an attorney to assist you in doing so. If your existing or potential case is in or near the Central Florida area (Orange, Seminole, Osceola, Lake, Sumter, Marion, and nearby counties), I would be more than happy to speak with you personally regarding your potential Family Law matter. My office offers free initial telephone consultations, during which we can discuss your matter in more detail, as well as explore the potential rights and options available to you.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 12/2/2011
    David A. Browde, P.C.
    David A. Browde, P.C. | David Browde
    That's not enough information on which to base an opinion - but obviously drug use is an important factor.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 12/2/2011
    Vincent J. Bernabei LLC
    Vincent J. Bernabei LLC | Vincent J. Bernabei
    If you've had a consistent, stable relationship with your son, your chances are good. You should contact an attorney for more specific advice.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 12/2/2011
    Thomas P. Carnes, Attorney & Mediator | Thomas P. Carnes
    Assuming that you have no similar issues that would level the playing field the playing field will be in your favor. If there are existing orders, I would file to modify them. I would ask the court for a temporaryrders hearing and move for hair-follicle drug testing at the first hearing. Most courts will order that the testing take place immediately.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 12/2/2011
    Odin, Feldman & Pittleman, P.C.
    Odin, Feldman & Pittleman, P.C. | Richard A. Gray
    The question can't be answered this simply. Virginia Code 20-124.3 lists various factors that the court must consider in any custody and visitation determination. I suggest you take a look at those code factors. If proven at a hearing that the mother and her boyfriend are, in fact, doing drugs and neglecting your son, then your odds of prevailing on a change of custody are substantially improved. What may be "obvious neglect" to you may or may not bear out that way when the facts and evidence have to be presented to a Judge in a courtroom. You should consult with an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 12/2/2011
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