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Texas Child Custody Laws | Parental Drug Use & Addiction

Texas Child Custody Laws | Parental Drug Use & Addiction

ARTICLE OVERVIEW: Parenting and drug use never go together. In Texas, family legal guidelines think about drug use a kind of “baby abuse”. What are you able to do if in case you have an habit drawback? A assessment of Texas baby custody legal guidelines here.


“The Greatest Interest of the Baby” Policy

Beneath Texas Family Code § 153.002, all Texas courts are guided by the most effective interests of the kid principle when deciding youngster custody and visitation orders. [1] That signifies that Texas courts purpose to make an order that greatest serves the bodily, psychological, and emotional wants of a child. However how do judges make selections about youngster custody?

The decision on the place to put a toddler for his or her greatest interest takes under consideration many variables. Some elements used to find out rulings on baby custody instances embrace, but are usually not limited to:

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A toddler’s choice when s/he’s at the least 10 years previous.
A history of abusive or assaultive conduct by the child’s family.
Every dad or mum’s future plans for the kid.
Parental history of substance abuse.
The power of every father or mother to look after the child.
The kid’s age and physical and mental vulnerabilities.
The surroundings and stability of each mum or dad’s house.
The mother and father’ plan for caring for the kid.
The physical, emotional, and mental needs of the child.

Additionally, when deciding parenting plans, courts comply with Texas public coverage. The objective is to offer a protected, secure and nonviolent setting. However the state also needs to keep each mother and father in the life of the child. The place potential, courts need to encourage mother and father to share rights and duties of elevating the kid. Another thing value mentioning is that Texas courts won’t contemplate the marital status or the intercourse of the mother and father when deciding parenting plans.

Supervising Courts

In Texas, there are a whole lot of courts that function in the state. Each has a unique jurisdiction. Jurisdiction is predicated on location, matter, and offense severity. Some courts overlap each other, making the whole  system complicated and confusing.

At the highest degree is the Texas Supreme Courtroom which handles civil matters. Then, the Texas Courtroom of Legal Appeals handles felony matters. On the subsequent degree are the 14 Courts of Attraction. They, too, have appellate jurisdiction.

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The key trial courts in Texas are referred to as “district courts”. They’re answerable for civil and legal instances. Some district courts focus on a specific sort of case, resembling juvenile or family regulation. But there are also county courts, statutory probate courts, justice of the peace courts, and municipal courts. While these have restricted jurisdiction, any certainly one of these courts may be involved in a toddler custody case. [2]

Household regulation issues, including divorces and baby custody instances are usually dealt with by the district courts. In most counties, a divorce case is filed by means of the District Clerk’s workplace. Nevertheless, there are also baby help specialty courts, and specialty baby safety courts in Texas. [3] Furthermore, the Workplace of the Lawyer Common is the official baby help enforcement agency for Texas. It offers providers in establishing and implementing youngster help. [4]

Legal guidelines

All Texas baby custody legal guidelines comply with the Uniform Youngster Custody Act, whose purpose is to attenuate custody disputes that contain multiple state. [5] The Family Code and Health & Security Code are the 2 primary Texas codes for youngster custody and drug engendered youngsters, respectively. What other legal guidelines exist in Texas that outline youngster custody tips?

We’ve gathered an inventory of an important laws and chapters of these laws concerning baby custody in Texas. It must be famous that this listing shouldn’t be in depth and isn’t meant to offer legal advice. For detailed rationalization on any legal matter, you need to consult an lawyer.

Household Code § 263.307(b) This part record the elements that must be thought-about in determining whether the child’s mother and father are prepared and capable of provide the kid with a protected surroundings. [6]

Household Code § 263.307(a), (c) This part supplies tips that must be thought-about by the courtroom in determining whether or not to undertake the permanency plan submitted by the Texas Department of Household and Protective Providers. [7]

Household Code § 261.001 This Chapter defines investigation of report of kid abuse or neglect. It also defines the phrases “abuse” and “born addicted to alcohol or a controlled substance”. [8]

Well being & Safety Code § 468.102 A chapter that regulates how The Division of Household and Protective Providers should shield a drug-endangered youngster “exposed to methamphetamine or to chemical compounds and other hazardous materials used within the illicit manufacture of methamphetamine.” [9]

Well being & Security Code § 468.103 A chapter that defines how the Division of Public Security of the State of Texas and every native regulation enforcement company shall report on discovering the presence of a child in a location where methamphetamine is manufactured. [10]

Varieties of Custody

In Texas, laws check with youngster custody as “conservatorship”. Conservatorship outlines the rights and duties mother and father have in the direction of youngsters. Conservatorship consists of essential selections like schooling or medical remedy, amongst many different things. The mother or father with courtroom ordered custody known as a “conservator”. There are two kinds of conservatorship in Texas:

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Sole Managing Conservatorship the place only one mum or dad has the correct to make all the choices for the kid.

Joint Managing Conservatorship the place both mother and father make selections collectively.

Texas regulation encourages joint custody every time attainable. It is thought-about that it’s in one of the best interest of the child to have each mother and father stay near one another and make selections collectively. [11]

“Proof” of Drug or Alcohol Use

Utilizing a controlled substance that impairs a caregiver’s capability to adequately care for a kid is taken into account “baby abuse” or “neglect” in Texas. In baby custody instances, mother and father might file a movement looking for to have the other mother or father examined for medicine. Nevertheless, the courtroom will want some proof that a drug check is needed. The proof that the courtroom can take into accounts consists of:

  • Felony data
  • Medical studies
  • Data from social welfare businesses
  • Third celebration eye witnesses

The courtroom just isn’t obliged to grant the motion if there’s not sufficient proof offered. However, most courts will grant a movement for drug testing, often a urine drug check, as a result of that’s in the most effective interest of the child. If the mum or dad suspected of drug or alcohol use needs to oppose this, s/he needs to file counter movement and lists explanation why drug testing shouldn’t be vital. Additionally, if the courtroom suspects one or both mother and father are utilizing medicine, it will probably order a drug check as a part of its baby custody evaluation.

Visitation Rights

Texas doesn’t use the time period “visitation” ; as an alternative Texas regulation outlines the follow of “possession and entry”. Possession and access refers to bodily custody of youngsters and when a mum or dad can visit the youngsters. Often, the kid will reside with one dad or mum while the opposite could have visitation rights. How is possession and access arranged in Texas?

In the event you and the opposite mum or dad agree, you possibly can create a schedule or an off-the-cuff parenting plan. Should you can’t agree, the courtroom will develop a plan based mostly on one of the best interest of the kid. The visitation plan must be truthful. Both mother and father should comply with it. The courtroom’s possession order will indicate when each father or mother has the fitting to be with the kid. A typical visitation schedule may embrace alternate weekends, alternate holidays, and vacation time.

There are a number of forms of possession orders in Texas. We listing the most typical four varieties of possession and entry setups here.

  1. Commonplace Possession Order. This sort of order designates who gets the youngsters and on what weekends. The father or mother with visitation rights can go to the kid on the first Friday of the month, followed by the third and fifth Fridays of the same month. Entry often ends on the Sunday of the same week at 6:00 p.m. Every Thursday night, the dad or mum can go to the child between 6:00 p.m. and eight:00 p.m.
  2. Modified Possession Orders. If there’s been a change in circumstances, a father or mother might need to pursue a modification of the original possession order. Nevertheless, there are specific parts that have to be met to switch a normal possession order. These modifications shall be thought-about on a case-by-case basis.
  3. Possession Orders for a Youngster Beneath 3. If a toddler is underneath three, mother and father should agree to use the Normal Possession Order. Or they could agree to use a special possession schedule. If they’re unable to agree on a schedule, the decide will make an order based mostly on all relevant elements, like these listed in Texas Household Code Part 153.254. [12]
  4. Supervised Possession Orders. When a dad or mum is supervised by a impartial third get together, the opposite father or mother or designated professionals have to be present when s/he is visiting the kid. In instances of extreme parental alienation, substance abuse dysfunction, mental or physical abuse, neglect or mental sickness the courtroom might order limited or supervised visitation.

No matter your present state of affairs it is very important keep in mind that custody and visitation are by no means thought-about “last”. As situations change, you possibly can come back to courtroom to request modifications. So, in the event you’re battling habit, just know that your access to your youngsters could also be limited now…but that can change. The thought is that as you present signs of healthier dwelling, judges and courts can adapt new possession orders.

What Occurs If I Check Constructive?

In case you are actively utilizing medicine or alcohol and you fail a courtroom ordered drug check, the courtroom takes the drug check very critically. The truth is, will probably be a significant factor in influencing the courtroom’s determination on visitation and custody, especially in case you have a young baby or a toddler with particular needs. You could lose all visitation rights or you could get only supervised visitation.

Repeated constructive drug or alcohol checks might end in termination of visitation rights in Texas.

The Texas authorized system prioritizes the kid’s greatest interest. Judges might be very cautious when granting custody to a mum or dad who uses medicine. That’s because substance abuse:

  • Exposes the child to unlawful medicine.
  • Will increase the danger of neglect.
  • Indicates an unhealthy setting.

In these instances, a mum or dad with and habit drawback may be referred to rehab, counseling, or mother or father courses. Take into account that a constructive drug check doesn’t mechanically mean dropping your parental rights. Your willingness to vary and work in the direction of that objective will make all of the difference.

Can Someone Subpoena My Data from Rehab

In precept, your medical and health data are personal. The federal Well being Insurance coverage Portability and Accountability regulation and the Texas Medical Data Privateness Act serve that will help you shield your private well being info.

Nevertheless, Texas courts have held that the privilege to privacy in medical data shouldn’t be absolute in custody instances. In instances of neglect, abuse or domestic violence the courtroom might order disclosure of rehab data for the purposes of the custody case solely. Since parental substance abuse is taken into account youngster abuse in Texas, you need to be aware that your medical data could also be disclosed and used towards you.

What laws shield your privacy in the Lone Star State?

HIPAA is a federal regulation designed to offer privacy requirements to guard patients’ medical data and different well being info offered to health plans, docs, hospitals and other well being care providers. [13]

Texas Medical Data Privacy Act requires “sure individuals and entities together with well being care suppliers, well being plans and entities that course of medical insurance claims to take certain measures with respect to protected health info…” [14] This regulation that provides more protection for patient privateness than is offered underneath HIPAA. The Act adopts the essential tenets of the HIPAA Privateness Requirements and supplies further protections for Texans in some areas where HIPAA has left gaps. Normally, the act prohibits using or disclosing health info with out first acquiring an individual’s consent.


How you can Be Reunited with My Youngsters?

It is rather easy.  You just have to point out willingness to vary. Then, adjust to the courtroom’s orders.

As mentioned above, Texas’ public coverage is to encourage mother and father to share custody. The state authorities needs both mother and father be current in the baby’s life. So, if the decide grants a drug check motion, it is best to adjust to the order and undergo the drug check. If the decide refers you to rehab, you need to comply with that order, too.

Whereas in rehab chances are you’ll be granted supervised visitation, or your visitation rights may be utterly suspended. It’s going to depend in your particular case.

In case you efficiently complete a remedy program and are actively collaborating in an ongoing recovery, it is rather doubtless that the courtroom will reverse its choice. In contrast, failing to comply with a courtroom order might end in everlasting termination of parental rights.

American Habit Facilities is a number one provider of inpatient and outpatient habit remedy providers. In reality, we now have a remedy middle in Texas. We provide same-day admissions and organize transportation. Call our free and confidential helpline to explore your remedy choices right now. You need to be together with your youngsters. Get higher with remedy. Call us to get started.

What Happens Once I Finish Rehab?

When you have misplaced custody of your youngsters because of a drug drawback, you’ll be able to file a motion to get your custody again. However, the courtroom will need to make certain that points have been resolved earlier than they contemplate returning the youngsters to your care. When will your youngsters be again in your care?

How long it takes to be reunited together with your youngsters will rely upon you. Should you decide to maintaining a drug-free way of life, you’ll want to point out proof over time. You’ll have to have and keep a secure house and job. Then, you’ll need to offer evidence that you’ve mental, emotional, and financial stability. Finally, the courtroom might consider your case and modify the custody or the visitation order.

Ending rehab is simply the first step in getting your youngsters again during a custody battle that includes drug or alcohol use. You continue to have an extended street forward of you. You’ll want to adjust to day-to-day life with out utilizing. That is why it is rather necessary that you’ve an aftercare remedy plan developed that may maintain you motivated to stay clear and sober. Aftercare often includes a combination of counseling, help teams, or a stay in a sober residence.

Sure, habit is a disease,. The good news is that it may be handled and managed. It just takes time, correct remedy and motivation. Being a mum or dad your youngsters deserve is the perfect motivation. Change is possible. Name us as we speak to find out how American Habit Facilities may help. Our admissions navigators are prepared to speak with you 24-7, day or night time. We’re ready in your name.

The place to Find Rehab?

Discovering a great rehab program that matches your wants could seem troublesome, however there quite a few remedy options in Texas. The place are you able to discover a respected rehab?

SAMHSA’s Nationwide Helpline – 1-800-662-HELP (4357)

SAMHSA’s Remedy Locator

Texas Department of State Well being Providers – Find Substance Abuse Providers


Don’t wait one other day. In search of remedy just isn’t an indication of weak spot. Take into consideration your youngsters and the way your recovery will have an effect on their lives in the long run. Each baby deserves healthy and productive mother and father. Ask for help as we speak!

When to Get Authorized Assist

Youngster custody and visitation rights issues could be emotionally demanding and legally complicated. But, an experienced youngster custody lawyer may also help you identify your greatest course of action, provide authorized steerage, and symbolize your greatest pursuits in courtroom. Here’s some useful hyperlinks where you’ll be able to search legal help:

Texas Access and Visitation Hotline (866)-292-4636, Monday – Friday, 1–7 p.m.

Authorized Assist Finder

CPS Household Helpline 1-844-888-6565, Monday via Friday from 9:00 AM to six:00 PM. 

Texas Advocacy Undertaking – Authorized Telephone Strains

Your Questions

We hope to have coated the topic of authorized custody in Texas and to have answered your questions. However we all know that you simply in all probability need to speak personally. Please be happy to name us day or night time. Or, depart a questions within the comments under. We attempt to answer all actual life questions personally. And if we will’t answer your questions, we’ll refer you to somebody who will help.

Reference Sources: [1] Texas Structure and Statutes: Texas Family Code
[2] Texas Judicial Branch: About Texas Courts: Courtroom Construction Chart
[3] Texas Judicial Department: About Texas Courts: SPECIALTY COURTS
[4] Ken Paxton Lawyer Common of Texas
[5] U.S. Department of Justice: The Uniform Youngster Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act
[6] Texas Statutes: Texas Household Code
[7] Texas Statutes: Texas Household Code
[8] Texas Statutes: Texas Household Code
[9] Texas Statutes: Well being & Security Code
[10] Texas Statutes: Well being & Security Code
[11] Texas Statutes: Texas Household Code
[12] Texas Statutes: Texas Family Code
[13] HHS: Abstract of the HIPAA Safety Rule
Texas Statutes: Health and Safety Code: Medical Report Privacy
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