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Addiction and Child Custody Laws in California

ARTICLE OVERVIEW: Substance abuse can lead your lack of parental rights. This text will provide you with perception to California’s governing legal guidelines round youngster custody. We’ll additionally take a look at how courts determine on baby custody instances if habit is current. Be happy to go away your questions in the feedback part. We attempt to reply all real-life questions promptly.



Child Centered Coverage

California Statutes are codified into 29 California Codes. The Household Code of California and Household Code part 3011 is the important thing statute in California for figuring out baby custody. This statute has been created to help one of the best curiosity of youngsters in the state. So, what are the primary concepts behind the legal guidelines?

Public coverage in the State of California is child-centered. That signifies that all courts selections are based mostly on the “Best interest of the child” authorized normal, which means that youngsters’s:

  • Schooling
  • Well being
  • Security
  • Welfare

…are of paramount significance, and it’s the courtroom’s major concern in custody instances. Issues like a toddler’s age, well being, relationship between the mother and father and are they capable of maintain the kid, historical past of home violence or substance abuse, and how is the kid interacting with its surroundings, are all considered by the courtroom.

Trial & Superior Courts

Trial courts deal with legal instances, civil instances, and appeals of misdemeanor instances. These courts deal with civil instances (household regulation, probate, juvenile), among the many others. Household instances regard baby custody fall beneath household regulation, colloquially generally known as the “family court”.

These instances embrace:

  • Child custody and visitation instances
  • Child Help
  • Divorce
  • Juvenile Dependency
  • Juvenile Delinquency

California has 58 superior courts, one in every county. Discover a full record with addresses and telephone numbers right here. Plus, since household regulation and youngster custody instances are delicate, many jurisdictions in California have established Unified Household Courts (UFC) whose focus is on coordinating associated household instances and court-referred providers.

NOTE HERE: Lots of California’s Superior Courts have specialised divisions for various instances, however these divisions will not be separate courts, however merely administrative divisions.

All youngster custody orders are issued by the judges of the Superior Courtroom. In case you are not glad with a choice a Trial Courtroom has made, you’ll be able to attraction the choice in an Appellate Courtroom.

2. Appellate Courts

Appellate courts permit so that you can attraction a choice and to ask for a second case evaluate. The courts are ruled by the Judicial Council of California that coordinates and supervises the work of the state courts in California. The 2 major varieties of appellate courts are:

  1. Courts of Attraction. The California Courts of Attraction are divided into six appellate districts, based mostly on geography. See the map for extra particulars.
  2. California Supreme Courtroom. That is the very best courtroom in the state. It critiques the instances determined by the Courts of Attraction.

These courts work to uphold the regulation in custody and parenting time (visitation) instances. Additionally they help agreements between the mother and father, ask for a custody order, reply to a request, and change or implement an order. For extra info on custody mediation, see the California State Courts of Attraction web site.

In California, parental substance abuse is taken into account youngster abuse.


The next legal guidelines tackle sure features of kid custody, substance abuse, and baby safety. This record isn’t exhaustive, nor meant to offer authorized recommendation. These are a abstract of the legal guidelines and how they relate to habit. Please take a look at the part under for extra info on how and when to get a lawyer.
1. Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act

Like many U.S. states, California has adopted the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act. This Act determines which state has jurisdiction and authority to make selections in baby custody instances. California baby custody legal guidelines adjust to the Act, and has been codified into California regulation as Sections 3400-3465 of the California Household Code.

2. Household Code Part 3041.5

This part permits the courtroom to order alcohol or drug testing to a mother or father who seeks custody or parenting time in a custody case with substance use dysfunction circumstances.

three. California Household Code part 3042

The courtroom should contemplate a toddler’s choice and needs when deciding on youngster custody rights. Nevertheless, the kid have to be a minimum of 14 years previous to be thought-about able to making clever determination, until the courtroom decides in a different way.

four. Well being & Security Code § 11379.7

Any individual convicted of possession of manufacture of managed substances in the presence of a kid underneath 16 is taken into account a felony.

5. Welfare and establishments Code § 300

Any youngster who has suffered or dangers struggling bodily hurt or sickness resulting from parental or guardian psychological sickness, incapacity or substance abuse, might come beneath safety of the courtroom.

6. Penal Code § 11165.13

Any indication on maternal substance abuse shall result in an evaluation of the mom and baby’s wants in accordance with the regulation.

7. Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act [11164 – 11174.3]

The aim of this Act is to guard youngsters and regulate insurance policies and procedures for reporting youngster abuse and neglect. Parental substance abuse is taken into account a kind of kid abuse, and is outlined in this regulation.

Varieties of Custody

There are two varieties of baby custody and two related subtypes in the State of California. These are:

1. Authorized Custody.

1.1. Joint authorized custody is when each mother and father share the rights and obligations for the kid’s improvement.

1.2. Sole custody is when just one dad or mum has the rights and duties for the kid’s improvement.

2. Bodily Custody.

2.1. Joint bodily custody is when youngsters stay with each mother and father in sure predetermined durations of time.

2.2. Sole or Main bodily custody is when youngsters reside with one father or mother solely.

California Superior Trial Courts can order drug testing beneath sure circumstances after analysis of proof of substance use.

“Proof” of Drug or Alcohol Use

Parental substance abuse is likely one of the figuring out elements in custody and visitation rights. The courtroom should present proof of a mum or dad’s recurring and continuous substance abuse. Accusations with out proof won’t be sufficient. The courtroom is obliged to find out the credibility of the testimony and take into accounts the entire context.

The proof of drug and/or alcohol abuse that California courts contemplate embrace:

  • Admitting substance abuse.
  • Medical reviews.
  • Third celebration eye witnesses.
  • Written stories from regulation enforcement businesses.
  • Written reviews from social welfare businesses.

Then, the courtroom can order drug testing underneath sure circumstances. Usually, a urine check will probably be ordered, as a least intrusive testing technique. Notice that there have to be some sort of proof of drug use earlier than the courtroom decides on ordering a drug check. As soon as a choice is made, the check have to be confidential and used just for the aim of willpower of kid custody.

Visitation Rights

Forms of visitation rights in California embrace:

Scheduled visitation, which is an in depth plan concerning the time the kid spend with every father or mother. transportation duties, holidays, birthdays, and holidays.

Affordable visitation, the place mother and father plan and implement their very own schedule.

Supervised visitation, when a 3rd individual is current throughout parental time.

No visitation, when contact with the father or mother just isn’t in one of the best curiosity of the kid.

Earlier than you seem in household courtroom, your visitation rights will first be reviewed by a 3rd celebration mediator. Mediation, or “child custody recommending counseling”, is obligatory in all custody and parenting time instances earlier than you go in entrance of a decide.

The objectives of mediation are that will help you:

  1. Agree on a parenting plan that’s in the most effective curiosity of your youngsters.
  2. Agree on a parenting plan that lets your youngsters spend time with each mother and father.
  3. Study methods to cope with anger or resentment.

Child custody mediation provides you an opportunity to resolve disagreements a few parenting plan. For those who’re capable of work out an settlement, the mediator helps outline custody and visitation tips. For those who can’t work out an settlement the mediator may give a written suggestion to the courtroom.

In precept, mother and father are inspired to have frequent and persevering with contact with their youngsters. Parenting time is how mother and father share the time with their youngsters.

Nevertheless, should you’re consuming or utilizing, a decide will in all probability order that your youngster solely have contact with you when a impartial third individual is current through the visitation. Any such third-person visitation association is usually referred to as “supervised visitation.”

Most certainly, the courtroom order will specify the time and period of the visits. Typically, the courtroom order may also specify who will present the supervised visitation providers and the place the visits will happen.

What Occurs if I Check Constructive?

Substance abuse is think about baby abuse in California. When you’ve testing constructive for illicit medicine, a parenting plan shall be put in place that may assist everybody keep protected. In these instances, the parenting plan can embrace:

  • Supervised visitation.
  • Advisable “safe zones” the place you youngster will probably be dropped off and picked up.
  • Not seeing the co-parent or different guardian.

It must be famous that preserving mother and father and youngsters collectively is of the most important precedence and a parental substance abuse won’t mechanically exclude you of custody/visitation rights, however the reverse can also be true, and a constructive drug check won’t assure a constructive consequence.

In most cities and counties in California, there are home violence businesses that may present authorized assist with custody points. You’ll be able to contact the Nationwide Home Violence Hotline and ask them for home violence organizations in your space. For extra info, it’s also possible to go to the home violence security planning part of this On-line Self-Assist Middle for extra info on security plans for you and your youngsters.

Can Somebody Subpoena My Data from Rehab

Sure, your rehab data could also be accessed by way of a courtroom order.

Thought-about as extremely delicate, medical data could be disclosed in California underneath the Civil Code §56 by a supplier of well being care, well being care service plan, or contractor ONLY by any the next:

  1. By a courtroom pursuant to an order of that courtroom.
  2. Board, fee, or administrative company for functions of adjudication pursuant to its lawful authority.
  3. By a celebration to a continuing earlier than a courtroom or administrative company pursuant to a subpoena, subpoena duces tecum.
  4. By a board, fee, or administrative company pursuant to an investigative subpoena issued
  5. By an arbitrator or arbitration panel, when arbitration is lawfully requested by both get together.
  6. By a search warrant lawfully issued to a governmental regulation enforcement company.
  7. By the affected person or the affected person’s consultant pursuant.
  8. By a medical expert, forensic pathologist, or coroner, when requested in the course of an investigation.
  9. When in any other case particularly required by regulation.

Additional, this federal regulation protects your confidentiality. The Federal Statute 42 protects the confidentiality of document of the id, analysis, prognosis, or remedy on any affected person relation to substance abuse. These data shall be confidential and disclosed just for the needs approved by a courtroom.

Find out how to Be Reunited with My Youngsters?

Typically, your youngsters might be taken out of your custody. The juvenile courtroom will get concerned in the lives of youngsters when there are considerations that a father or mother just isn’t capable of maintain his or her youngster protected from abuse or neglect. Then, the courtroom begins a juvenile dependency case.

Typically, your baby could also be really helpful a brand new authorized guardian. Authorized guardianship is a courtroom order that claims somebody who shouldn’t be the kid’s dad or mum is in cost of taking good care of the kid. Authorized guardians have a variety of the identical rights and duties as mother and father. They will determine the place your youngster lives and goes to high school, and they will make selections about your youngster’s well being care.

Nonetheless, the first purpose of all governing our bodies concerned in the kid welfare system is reunification of households.

So, how one can get authorized custody again?

How are you going to show to the courtroom that you’re match to be a dad or mum?

The Adoption and Protected Households Act (ASFA) provides the mother or father a restricted period of time to realize rehabilitation and not succeeding may result in a lack of parental rights. Earlier than you’re reunited together with your youngsters you need to adjust to the courts orders and present an proof of housing, employment and competitors of a 30, 60 or 90 days substance abuse rehab program. Parental substance abuse lowers the chance of reunification, and will increase the time you youngsters spend in foster houses.

All the time keep in mind that the choice the courtroom has as soon as made doesn’t need to be everlasting. There’s all the time a solution to create a wholesome residence and turn out to be the dad or mum your youngsters deserve. Getting higher helps everybody.

What Occurs Once I End Rehab?

After finishing rehab, the courtroom will make analysis and determine whether or not or not you may be awarded custody. It is very important efficiently full all required ranges of substance abuse remedy. Benefiting from your keep in a remedy facility, your participation in an aftercare program, and dedication to a sober life will increase the probabilities of regaining custody.

A continued sample of relapse and lack of ability to stick to remedy and restoration packages can prolong the separation together with your baby and can result in dropping your parental rights.

Then, it’s potential so that you can request for a change of the custody and visitation schedule in the event you:

  • Present the courtroom that there’s been a change in circumstances.
  • Present the courtroom that there’s a vital change for the most effective of the youngsters to have secure and constant custody preparations with their mother and father.
  • Don’t need to go to mediation earlier than you file any papers.

Furthermore, the courtroom might order a drug check to show your sobriety. Discover all file types, and recommendations on easy methods to fill them right here

Nevertheless, select the restoration life for you, not simply in your youngsters. In case you are clear and sober, not solely you’ll get higher in life, you’ll rebuild belief and strengthen your relationship.

The place to Discover Rehab?

There are quite a few remedy choices in California. You’ll be able to name us and study your remedy choices in the state. Our compassionate hotline operators are there to pay attention and assist. Listed here are another useful hyperlinks the may help you together with your seek for the proper remedy choices.

Don’t overlook which you could all the time name us. We’d love to listen to from you.

We all know habit. You aren’t alone!

When to Get Authorized Assist

Child custody instances involving parental substance abuse are fairly complicated and delicate. So, we advise you contemplate asking for authorized assist instantly. Selecting one of the best lawyer might be troublesome, however there are number of sources the place you’ll be able to search.