Judge with gavelThis is the next post in my series on how Peoria, Illinois fathers should address child custody situations which involve drug use. My last article provided an overview of topics which this series will be addressing and stressed the need to speak with an attorney as soon as possible if you believe your child’s mother is abusing narcotics. The longer you wait to speak with counsel then the less likely the Court will be to believe that the situation is an actual emergency. Contact my office today to speak with a lawyer.

The process of changing child custody begins by filing a Motion with the Court. This is a formal document in which one states the facts of the case, the legal reasons for which custody should be changed, and the new visitation schedule which is being proposed. It is important to understand that the Court will not change custody simply because you are requesting it. Your Motion must demonstrate that there has been a substantial change of circumstances since your last custody order and that, due to the change of circumstances, a custody modification is now in the child’s best interests. In cases involving drug use the potential change of circumstances is obvious.

A hearing will be held at which the Court will hear arguments from both sides. This hearing is not a trial; it is a time when the attorneys for each side will orally present their arguments. If the father shows reason to believe that the mother is using drugs then the Court will typically Order the mother to take an immediate drug test and a return Court hearing will be scheduled for within a few days. If the mother’s tests are returned as positive then the father may be awarded custody on a temporary basis. The Court will set a trial date at which a permanent decision will be reached in regards to custody.

The more evidence of drug use you submit with your initial Motion then the more likely the Court is to order a drug test. On one end of the spectrum are the extreme cases in which the mother has been arrested with illegal narcotics. In other cases, however, the Court may not be willing to Order a drug test without some form of proof. This proof can come in the form of witness statements, statements from the child, as well as other sources. While the bar for getting the Court to order drug testing is low, it is important to understand that it is not invisible. It is best to consult with counsel to understand your options.

If you believe the mother of your child is abusing controlled substances then contact my Peoria office today to speak with a fathers’ rights attorney. I also serve the counties of Fulton, Knox, LaSalle, Marshall, Mason, McLean, Putnam, Rock Island, Schuyler, Stark, Tazewell, and Woodford. I also handle federal cases in Urbana.