The recent legalization of recreational marijuana use in Virginia has raised more questions than answers, especially when it comes to civil cases like child custody proceedings.

With so many legal uncertainties surrounding the new law, many are left asking “How will this affect my custody case?” From drug testing to navigating the law in varying jurisdictions, attorney Rebecca Wade, partner at Wade, Grimes, Friedman, Meinken & Leischner, breaks down the implications of marijuana legalization in Virginia child custody cases.

As A Parent, Am I At Risk Of Losing Custody If I Smoke Marijuana In Virginia?

According to Wade, because the law is so recent, there is no example case for judges to follow to determine whether or not marijuana use should be considered as grounds for revoking child custody. Without changes to statute, Wade reminds that each jurisdiction can decide how harshly to view marijuana during a custody case. This could range from judges who personally oppose the legalization versus those who support it. 

Can A Drug Test Be Used As Evidence In A Child Custody Case In Virginia? 

Although recreational marijuana use is now legal in Virginia, a judge can still order a drug test for a parent in a child custody case. The following evidence would reason for a judge to order a marijuana test:

  • Marijuana is being used around the child
  • The child is exposed to marijuana 
  • The parent is high and cannot care for the child

Because being a parent and smoking recreational marijuana comes with such high stakes, it’s crucial to connect with the right professional. “When hiring a lawyer, it is important to make sure they know your jurisdiction so they can present your case in the most beneficial way,” Wade says.

What Are Key Factors Judges Consider Regarding Marijuana Use In Child Custody Cases?

Wade says, “In my experience, whether the use is legal or illegal doesn’t seem to have a huge impact on most judges. They’re more concerned with the use of marijuana as it relates to one’s ability to parent.”

Wade says judges typically consider these key factors regarding marijuana use and child custody cases:

  1. Is the parent using marijuana?
  2. Is the parent using marijuana in the presence of the child?
  3. Does the child have access to where the parent stores the marijuana?

When To Contact An Attorney

If you are a parent and have questions about marijuana use and child custody, please contact Rebecca Wade.

About the Author

This is a photo of Rebecca Wade. She is a family law and criminal defense attorney at Old Town Lawyers.

Rebecca Janet Wade

Rebecca Wade is a partner at Wade Grimes Friedman Meinken & Leischner PLLC, practicing in all areas of family law and criminal law having experience with protective orders, divorce, child custody and visitation, child protective services investigations, juvenile delinquency, and criminal charges.

Wade has been named a 2023 Best Lawyer in America by U.S. News & World Report, a 2023 Super Lawyer in Northern Virginia and Washington D.C., and a 2020-2021 Top Lawyer by Northern Virginia Magazine.

Whether you are facing a family law, protective order, estate planning, bankruptcy and/or criminal-law-related issue, Wade Grimes Friedman Meinken & Leischner PLLC is here for you during challenging times.

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