How Can Alcohol, Marijuana, and Other Drugs Affect an Illinois Divorce?

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If you are considering a divorce in Illinois, you’ll also want to think about how the use of marijuana, alcohol, drugs, and other substances could impact your separation.

How the Law Views Marijuana, Drugs, and Drinking

Though it’s not legal on the federal level, marijuana is can be purchased and consumed in Illinois. However, you cannot be impaired in the presence of minor children. The courts can’t create a blanket order saying that someone can never use a legal substance, but sometimes in settlements, one party or another could be prohibited from using the substances when children are around.

If parents use substances like marijuana recreationally, if they don’t see any harm, and if it does not impede their day-to-day functioning, then it may not be an issue in divorce cases.

What if a Parent Abuses Alcohol or Drugs?

When abuse of a substance is an issue in a divorce case, it can be a big problem (learn more about other mistakes to avoid here).

If one partner believes the other is abusing alcohol, marijuana, or other controlled substances, then the court may scrutinize more closely what each partner is allowed to consume. There may be a court order that decrees that a parent cannot consume alcohol at all when children are around.

If there’s concern that the person will not follow the order to abstain from substance use, then random tests can be required. It used to be more common that companies would show up unannounced and, for example, request a breathalyzer test. Now, companies like Soberlink have cornered the market. They make devices and apps that can require individuals to blow into the mechanism to check in at random points in the day or before they operate a vehicle.

How Violations May Affect Custody or Visitation (Parenting) Time with Children?

Nothing good can happen if you’re not sober or if you use substances during your time with children. It is possible that your parental visitation time and co-parenting plans can be suspended if you’re caught violating your alcohol or substance agreements.

At best, a supervised visitation may be added to your custody orders. That means that a trusted family member may need to be present while your child is with you. Or the courts may require an external paid supervisor or supervising agency. As you could imagine, scheduling can be so cumbersome and costs could be so high that visitation could be prevented by these interventions.

No one can stop you from using legal substances, as long as they’re not impairing your life or as long as you’re not using them in illegal ways. However, you don’t want to give the impression that you’re irresponsible, especially around children. Always keep kids at the center: if you are at risk for substance abuse and have children, it’s best just to avoid anything that could get in the way of your time with loved ones.

If you’re looking to establish fair and equitable parenting plans, work through mediation, or discover the Collaborative Divorce process in Oak Park or the Chicago area, contact us today at the Law Offices of Patrick Markey, P.C.