Marijuana Use in South Carolina Child Custody Cases
Written by: Megan Dell
In recent years, marijuana has been decriminalized and even become legal in some places, prompting frequent questions about how marijuana use can affect a South Carolina child custody case.
Though the news is full of information about marijuana being accepted in many places, you should not assume this is the case in South Carolina. More than twenty states have decriminalized or legalized marijuana for various uses, but South Carolina is not one of them.
According to South Carolina law, marijuana remains a Schedule I controlled substance, and it is a crime to purchase or possess it.
When one parent makes allegations of illegal drug use or misuse of prescriptions against the other, it is very common for the Family Court to order one – or both – parents to undergo drug testing. The type of testing will vary based on the allegations.
Because recreational use of marijuana is undoubtedly illegal in South Carolina, Family Court judges must find that a parent who has used it is unfit to have custody of his or her child. Sometimes this may result in an otherwise adequate parent losing custody and receiving only supervised visitation. A parent who has been found to use marijuana may also be required to complete substance abuse treatment.
Marijuana is not regulated for medicinal use in South Carolina, though there are political proponents for changing that through legislation. In the meantime, South Carolina law provides that there is no accepted medical use of marijuana in treatment, and Family Court judges are required to make the same determination.
However, if a parent resides in a state where medicinal use of marijuana is legalized, then it may be possible to defend that parent’s use and develop restrictions to protect the children’s best interests.
Marijuana use can greatly affect a South Carolina child custody case, and your rights to custody and visitation of your children. It is essential that you seek the advice of a lawyer who is familiar with these issues before going into court.