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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 by no means go together. In Texas, family legal guidelines think about drug use a kind of “baby abuse”. What are you able to do in case you have an habit drawback? A assessment of Texas youngster custody laws right here.


“The Greatest Interest of the Youngster” Policy

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

The choice on where to put a toddler for his or her greatest interest takes under consideration many variables. Some elements used to determine rulings on youngster custody instances embrace, however aren’t restricted to:

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A toddler’s choice when s/he is at the least 10 years previous.
A historical past of abusive or assaultive conduct by the child’s household.
Every mother or father’s future plans for the child.
Parental history of substance abuse.
The power of each father or mother to look after the kid.
The child’s age and bodily and psychological vulnerabilities.
The setting and stability of every mother or father’s residence.
The mother and father’ plan for caring for the kid.
The bodily, emotional, and mental needs of the kid.

Also, when deciding parenting plans, courts comply with Texas public policy. The objective is to offer a protected, secure and nonviolent setting. However the state also needs to keep both mother and father in the lifetime of the kid. Where potential, courts need to encourage mother and father to share rights and duties of elevating the child. Another factor value mentioning is that Texas courts won’t contemplate the marital standing or the sex of the mother and father when deciding parenting plans.

Supervising Courts

In Texas, there are a whole lot of courts that operate within the state. Every has a special jurisdiction. Jurisdiction is predicated on location, matter, and offense severity. Some courts overlap one another, 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 issues. On the subsequent degree are the 14 Courts of Attraction. They, too, have appellate jurisdiction.

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The most important trial courts in Texas are referred to as “district courts”. They are chargeable for civil and felony instances. Some district courts focus on a specific sort of case, reminiscent of juvenile or household regulation. However there are additionally county courts, statutory probate courts, justice of the peace courts, and municipal courts. While these have restricted jurisdiction, any certainly one of these courts could also be involved in a toddler custody case. [2]

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

Legal guidelines

All Texas youngster custody laws adjust to the Uniform Youngster Custody Act, whose purpose is to attenuate custody disputes that contain multiple state. [5] The Household Code and Health & Safety Code are the two essential Texas codes for youngster custody and drug engendered youngsters, respectively. What other laws exist in Texas that define baby custody tips?

We’ve gathered an inventory of an important laws and chapters of these legal guidelines regarding youngster custody in Texas. It ought to be noted that this record isn’t in depth and isn’t meant to offer authorized recommendation. For detailed rationalization on any legal matter, you must seek the advice of an lawyer.

Family Code § 263.307(b) This part listing the elements that must be thought-about in determining whether or not the kid’s mother and father are prepared and capable of present the kid with a protected setting. [6]

Family Code § 263.307(a), (c) This part offers tips that ought to 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 child abuse or neglect. It also defines the terms “abuse” and “born hooked on alcohol or a controlled substance”. [8]

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

Health & Security Code § 468.103 A chapter that defines how the Division of Public Safety of the State of Texas and each 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 discuss 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 issues. The father or mother with courtroom ordered custody is known as a “conservator”. There are two kinds of conservatorship in Texas:

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Sole Managing Conservatorship where just one mum or dad has the best 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 potential. It is thought-about that it is in the perfect curiosity of the child to have both mother and father reside close to one another and make selections collectively. [11]

“Proof” of Drug or Alcohol Use

Utilizing a controlled substance that impairs a caregiver’s capacity to adequately care for a child is taken into account “youngster abuse” or “neglect” in Texas. In youngster custody instances, mother and father might file a motion in search of to have the opposite mother or father examined for medicine. Nevertheless, the courtroom will need some proof that a drug check is needed. The proof that the courtroom can think about consists of:

  • Felony data
  • Medical reviews
  • Data from social welfare businesses
  • Third get together eye witnesses

The courtroom is just not obliged to grant the movement if there’s not enough proof offered. However, most courts will grant a motion for drug testing, often a urine drug check, as a result of that is in one of the best curiosity of the kid. If the father or mother suspected of drug or alcohol use needs to oppose this, s/he must file counter motion and lists the reason why drug testing just isn’t vital. Additionally, if the courtroom suspects one or each mother and father are using medicine, it will probably order a drug check as a part of its youngster custody evaluation.

Visitation Rights

Texas does not use the term “visitation” ; as an alternative Texas regulation outlines the follow of “possession and entry”. Possession and entry refers to bodily custody of youngsters and when a mum or dad can visit the youngsters. Often, the child will stay with one mum or dad whereas the opposite could have visitation rights. How is possession and access arranged in Texas?

When you and the opposite mum or dad agree, you’ll be able to create a schedule or an off-the-cuff parenting plan. When you can’t agree, the courtroom will develop a plan based mostly on the most effective interest of the child. The visitation plan needs to be truthful. Both mother and father ought to comply with it. The courtroom’s possession order will point out when each father or mother has the correct 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 record the most typical 4 forms of possession and access setups right here.

  1. Normal Possession Order. This sort of order designates who will get the youngsters and on what weekends. The dad or mum with visitation rights can go to the kid on the primary Friday of the month, adopted by the third and fifth Fridays of the same month. Access often ends on the Sunday of the identical week at 6:00 p.m. Each Thursday night, the mum or dad 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 mum or dad might need to pursue a modification of the original possession order. Nevertheless, there are specific parts that have to be met to switch an ordinary possession order. These modifications shall be thought-about on a case-by-case foundation.
  3. Possession Orders for a Youngster Underneath three. If a toddler is underneath three, mother and father should agree to use the Commonplace Possession Order. Or they could agree to use a unique possession schedule. If they are unable to agree on a schedule, the decide will make an order based mostly on all relevant elements, like those listed in Texas Family Code Section 153.254. [12]
  4. Supervised Possession Orders. When a mother or father is supervised by a impartial third celebration, the opposite mother or father or designated professionals have to be current when s/he is visiting the kid. In instances of extreme parental alienation, substance abuse dysfunction, mental or bodily abuse, neglect or psychological illness the courtroom might order limited or supervised visitation.

Whatever your present state of affairs it is very important keep in mind that custody and visitation are never thought-about “remaining”. As conditions change, you possibly can come again to courtroom to request modifications. So, in case you’re fighting habit, just know that your access to your youngsters could also be limited now…however that can change. The thought is that as you show indicators 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, it is going to be a significant factor in influencing the courtroom’s choice on visitation and custody, especially when you have a younger baby or a toddler with special wants. You could lose all visitation rights or you could get solely 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 curiosity. Judges can be very cautious when granting custody to a father or mother who uses medicine. That’s as a result of substance abuse:

  • Exposes the kid to illegal medicine.
  • Will increase the danger of neglect.
  • Signifies an unhealthy surroundings.

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

Can Somebody Subpoena My Data from Rehab

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

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

What laws shield your privateness in the Lone Star State?

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

Texas Medical Data Privateness Act requires “certain individuals and entities including health care providers, 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 extra protection for affected person privateness than is offered underneath HIPAA. The Act adopts the essential tenets of the HIPAA Privateness Requirements and offers further protections for Texans in some areas the place HIPAA has left gaps. Normally, the act prohibits using or disclosing health info without first acquiring a person’s consent.


Tips on how to Be Reunited with My Youngsters?

It is extremely easy.  You just have to point out willingness to vary. Then, comply with the courtroom’s orders.

As mentioned above, Texas’ public policy is to encourage mother and father to share custody. The state authorities needs each mother and father be present within the youngster’s life. So, if the decide grants a drug check motion, you must comply with the order and undergo the drug check. If the decide refers you to rehab, you need to comply with that order, too.

While in rehab you could be granted supervised visitation, or your visitation rights may be utterly suspended. It’ll rely on your particular case.

In case you successfully full a remedy program and are actively collaborating in an ongoing restoration, it is extremely probably that the courtroom will reverse its choice. In distinction, failing to adjust to a courtroom order might end in everlasting termination of parental rights.

American Habit Centers is a number one supplier of inpatient and outpatient habit remedy providers. Actually, we’ve a remedy middle in Texas. We offer same-day admissions and organize transportation. Name our free and confidential helpline to explore your remedy options immediately. You need to be together with your youngsters. Get better with remedy. Call us to get began.

What Happens Once I End Rehab?

When you’ve got misplaced custody of your youngsters due to a drug drawback, you’ll be able to file a motion to get your custody back. But, the courtroom will need to ensure that issues have been resolved before they contemplate returning the youngsters to your care. When will your youngsters be back in your care?

How lengthy it takes to be reunited together with your youngsters will depend upon you. In the event you commit 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 residence and job. Then, you’ll want to offer evidence that you’ve psychological, emotional, and financial stability. Lastly, the courtroom might consider your case and modify the custody or the visitation order.

Finishing rehab is simply step one in getting your youngsters back throughout a custody battle that includes drug or alcohol use. You continue to have an extended street forward of you. You’ll want to regulate to day-to-day life without utilizing. This is the reason it is extremely necessary that you’ve an aftercare remedy plan developed that may hold you motivated to stay clean and sober. Aftercare often features a mixture of counseling, help groups, or a stay in a sober house.

Sure, habit is a disease,. The good news is that it can be treated and managed. It simply takes time, proper remedy and motivation. Being a dad or mum your youngsters deserve is the perfect motivation. Change is feasible. Call us in the present day to find out how American Habit Facilities will help. Our admissions navigators are ready to speak with you 24-7, day or night time. We’re waiting on your name.

The place to Discover Rehab?

Discovering a great rehab program that matches your wants could seem troublesome, but there numerous remedy options in Texas. Where can you find a respected rehab?

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

SAMHSA’s Remedy Locator

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


Don’t wait another day. In search of remedy isn’t a sign 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 youngster deserves wholesome and productive mother and father. Ask for assist as we speak!

When to Get Authorized Help

Baby custody and visitation rights issues may be emotionally demanding and legally complicated. However, an experienced baby custody lawyer might help you identify your greatest course of action, present authorized steerage, and symbolize your greatest interests in courtroom. Right here’s some useful hyperlinks the place you’ll be able to search legal assist:

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 6:00 PM. 

Texas Advocacy Undertaking – Legal Telephone Strains

Your Questions

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

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