For What Reasons May A Spouse Be Tested For Alcohol Or Drugs In A Divorce?

If a spouse abuses illegal drugs, alcohol, or prescription drugs, they create a safety risk for their children—particularly if they are transporting their children in a vehicle while under the influence. Depending on the perpetrator’s behavior while under the influence, they might also be emotionally or physically abusive toward their children. Children are entitled to be in an environment which is free from substance abuse issues.

Can I Have Myself Tested For Drugs During A Divorce Or Custody Case?

One can certainly request drug and alcohol testing for the other side. Depending on the type of hearing or motion that is before the court, the court may order substance abuse testing. Drug or alcohol testing may be requested orally at the hearing or in a party’s motion prior to the hearing. If there is a good faith basis for believing that the other party has a substance abuse issue, then the court will generally be willing to order substance abuse testing, particularly if the requesting party is willing to pay the initial costs of the test. In that case, the court will sometimes require that the requesting party bear the initial cost of the test, but if the test comes back positive, then the other party would be required to reimburse that party for the cost of the test. If there is solid evidence that substance abuse is a concern, the court will often require testing at the cost of the substance abuser.

Will I Be Required To Submit To Drug Testing If I Want My Spouse To Be Tested In A Divorce?

If both parties have a substance abuse history or if there are allegations that both sides have a substance abuse history, then the court will often require substance abuse testing for both sides. A party who is being accused of having a substance abuse problem may simply be irritated or angry that they are being required to undergo the embarrassment of substance abuse testing, and as a result, they may seek to make the substance abuse testing orders mutual. Although it may be irritating, the party without a substance abuse problem really shouldn’t have a problem making the order mutual, so long as the requesting party has to bear the initial cost of the test. It is rare for someone to waste good money requesting a test that they know will come back negative. In some cases, parties may be concerned that drug or alcohol testing will be used only to harass the other side, but that is very unlikely—particularly if the requesting party has to pay the initial cost.

What Must I Include In My Request To The Court To Make Drug Testing Of My Ex Mandatory?

In order to show the court that a party should be required to undergo substance abuse testing, it would be helpful to provide evidence showing a history of substance abuse-related offenses, such as court docket printouts, police reports, declarations or affidavits from witnesses that have observed substance abuse, or financial records showing frequent or unusually large purchases of alcohol. In some cases, prescription histories from pharmacies or the Department of Professional Licensing (DOPL) can be sought to demonstrate prescription drug abuse by showing evidence of doctor shopping.

Can I Request To Have My Ex Tested For Drugs At Any Time During A Divorce Case?

Depending on the quality, recency, and extent of the evidence acquired during a custody case, although exceptions exist, the court will usually permit a motion to request drug or alcohol testing. However, if your evidence is recent and demonstrates an immediate and irreparable risk of harm to the child, then a motion for a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) could be filed. Other options include filing a Petition to Modify the decree to address the issue and then filing a motion for temporary orders to address the issue while the petition to modify is pending.

For more information on Drug/Alcohol Testing For Spouses In A Divorce, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (801) 616-3301 today.

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*Child Welfare Law Specialist Nat’l Assoc. of Counsel for Children