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Medical marijuana use not a deal breaker in child custody

Following a divorce, the family dynamic often changes dramatically. A divorce order may indicate child custody provisions. Parents may share custody of their children or one parent may get sole legal custody, with the other parent having visitation rights. A judge looks and many different factors when deciding how to divide custody but one of the factors that doesn't necessarily disqualify a parent as "fit" is medical marijuana use.

According to the Michigan Attorney General, parents who use medical marijuana will not be disqualified from visiting their children or even getting custody of their children. But this isn't an absolute rule. Like most family court decision, judges have the ability to look at the circumstances on a case-by-case basis.

Once a judge is aware of the approved use of a controlled substance, like marijuana, the judge can determine if that use presents and unsafe or unhealthy environment for the children.

One thing that the judge can't do in this situation: determine whether or not the parent should qualify for the use of medical marijuana.

The Attorney General released this opinion after a state legislator posed a question to him on the matter. The response only refers to those people who approved by Michigan to use marijuana for the purpose of alleviating illness or growing it for others to use medically.

Michigan parents who share custody or have visitation right to their children should be aware of this opinion. If a judge ever tries to limit those parental rights based on a medical use of a controlled substance, parents should consult with an attorney. A family law attorney can help protect those rights and remind the court that it needs to look out for the best interests of the child above and beyond the mere fact that a parent may use marijuana for medical purposes.

Source: WLNS 6, "AG: Medical Marijuana Doesn't Spoil Custody Cases," May 10, 2013

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