Laws and cultural views toward marijuana, and specifically medical marijuana, are changing rapidly in the United States. Twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia have at least some laws on the books legalizing medical marijuana, and several states have legalized recreational use (marijuana use remains a federal crime, however). With medical marijuana becoming more accepted on the whole, an important question for parents with pending custody matters in Virginia is how medical marijuana use might affect that custody case.
Medical Marijuana is Not Legal in Virginia
To be clear, Virginia is not one of those 29 states that have legalized medical marijuana. While there has been calls to make it legal (as there have been just about everywhere), the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes or otherwise in Virginia is still against the law.
Does that mean that one parent’s use of medical marijuana will automatically kill their chances for custody in Virginia? Absolutely not, but the fact that a person is using medical marijuana outside the bounds of the law and presumably without a prescription does have the possibility of affecting a custody matter.
How Marijuana Use Can Affect Your Virginia Custody Matter
Disputed custody matters are ultimately decided by a judge who is overseeing the case. Virginia judges in custody matters are certainly not out to punish either of the parents in these matters, but instead are going to be a looking at a variety of factors listed in Virginia law to determine what custody arrangement serves the “best interests of the child.”
While drug use is not a listed factor in the Virginia best interests of the child statute, the court may consider any factor it deems necessary and proper, which can include illegal drug use. Other factors include the physical and mental ability of the parent to take care of the child, which another parent might argue is negatively affected by marijuana use.
Ultimately, what is important to understand with custody decisions is that the particular judge overseeing your matter will have wide latitude in determining how much significance to give allegations of marijuana use. One judge might see use of marijuana in a particular case as benign and not negatively impacting a parent’s ability to raise a child, while another judge may view it as making that parent unfit to have custody.
By working with an experienced Virginia family law attorney in your custody matter, you can present all relevant facts to the judge in a compelling manner to support your requests for custody.
Schedule a Consultation With a Virginia Family Law Attorney Today
At Kurylo Gold & Josey, PLC in Fredericksburg, we will guide through all of your questions regarding all aspects of custody and help you work towards a favorable outcome in your family law matter. To schedule a consultation with one of our Virginia family law attorneys, contact Kurylo Gold & Josey, PLC at 540.642.1766.