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Suspect Ex’s Substance Abuse? How To Fight for Your Child’s Safety in NY

by | Jan 20, 2024 | Child Custody NY

Are you worried about your child’s safety when they are in your ex’s custody? If you believe your ex is using drugs or alcohol and putting your child at risk when in their custody, you need to know what you can do to protect them and ensure their safety. If your ex has custody of your child, it is your right, even your obligation, to ensure your child remains safe there. It is not uncommon for parents to encounter dangerous situations like this, and in those cases you need to know the legal options available to you to protect your child.

Before you do start making accusations of substance abuse against your ex, we encourage you to set up a consultation with the experienced Long Island, NY divorce attorneys at Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C. Taking this first step can help ensure you remain protected and your child gets rapid help if they need it. If you are divorcing an addict on Long Island, NY, we encourage you to understand your rights before taking action.

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Can You Request a Drug Test of Your Ex with Child Custody?

In any child custody matter, requesting a drug test can be a powerful tool to help you show that your child’s other parent is unfit. If you seek sole custody, you may take this step to you’re your case. However, when the court has already assigned custody to the other parent, the process becomes a bit more challenging.

You should only pursue a drug test request like this if you are confident that the other parent is putting your child at risk through the illegal or misuse of drugs or alcohol. This is key because, if that does not happen, you could be seen as vindictive and wasting the court’s time, which ultimately hurts your case.

What to Do When You Know Your Child Is At Risk

In situations where you need to request a drug test for the other parent, do not speak to the other parent or alert them to this in any way. Instead, work with your Long Island, NY divorce attorney to file a motion with the court. The court will ask for the reasoning behind this motion, and you will need to provide it.

For example, if your child was in the car when your ex was charged with driving under the influence, that is clear evidence. If you have photos or videos of the other parent using substances illicitly while in the presence of your child, that could also be helpful. Witness statements, employer statements, or other information could be considered as well.

Providing the court with a pattern of substance abuse can also be a clear reason to require a drug test. Providing proof of this through photos, videos, or text messages may be necessary in these situations. Note that it is not uncommon for exes to falsely accuse the other of substance abuse or misuse as a way to influence custody decisions. The court knows that and will carefully examine any request for a drug test before moving forward with it.

What to Expect in Child Custody on Long Island, NY

The court will give both parties a chance to argue their case for or against the drug test and why they feel it may or may not be beneficial. It is up to the court to then decide. Long Island, New York state courts may be willing to order a drug test if they believe the child is at risk. If so, they will determine the type of test to administer, such as a urine, blood, or hair test. Depending on the type, it may provide evidence of substance use for a period of time.

The court will determine:

  • Where the test will be done
  • When the test must be done by
  • And what the outcome of a failed drug test may mean to the parent
  • If and when to consider a challenge to positive test results
  • If a temporary child custody order is necessary

A positive drug test on your ex does not automatically change custody agreements. It also does not mean that the other parent cannot maintain partial custody of the child. Each situation is carefully considered to ensure that the best interests of the child are protected.

What You Should Do Now to Protect Your Child if You Suspect is Abusing Drugs or Alcohol

At Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C., we take action quickly to ensure your child is not being put in harm’s way due to the drug or alcohol abuse of the other parent. If we believe that it is in your best interests to pursue a drug test against your ex to prove that they are putting your child at risk, we will tell you that. Our Long Island, NY child custody attorneys will work diligently to pursue motions to encourage the court to take necessary action. We can also help you understand parental rights after an NY criminal conviction, such as a DUI.

Contact us now for a free initial consultation and case evaluation. Our team is ready to help you when you call 691-923-1910 or fill in the short form on this page.

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About the Author

Robert E. Hornberger, Esq., Founding Partner, Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C.

  • Over 20 years practicing matrimonial law
  • Over 1,000 cases successfully resolved
  • Founder and Partner of Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C.
  • Experienced and compassionate Long Island Divorce Attorney, Family Law Attorney, and Divorce Mediator
  • Licensed to practice law in the State of New York
  • New York State Bar Association member
  • Nassau County Bar Association member
  • Suffolk County Bar Association member
  • “Super Lawyer” Metro Rising Star
  • Nominated Best of Long Island Divorce Attorney four consecutive years
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee Contributor
  • Collaborative Law Association of New York – Former Director
  • Martindale Hubbell Distinguished Designation
  • America’s Most Honored Professionals – Top 5%
  • Lead Counsel Rated – Divorce Law
  • American Institute of Family Law Attorneys 10 Best
  • International Academy of Collaborative Professionals
  • Graduate of Hofstra University School of Law
  • Double Bachelor’s degrees in Philosophy, Politics & Law and History from SUNY Binghamton University
Divorce Lawyer Long Island New York
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Melissa Rappa
Melissa Rappa
18:09 08 Feb 24
At one of the hardest and most stressful times of my life, it was so comforting to have a team at Hornberger and Verbitsky who ALWAYS responded in record speed to my questions, phone calls, emails or texts and who I felt really cared about helping me through this difficult time. It was a long few years and I am grateful to all of you. Thank you so much Rob, AnneMarie, Christine, Patty, Joan and Lawrence. Your guidance, professionalism and expertise is appreciated beyond measure.
Paul Carmichael
Paul Carmichael
16:21 11 Dec 23
I would give 6 stars if I could. I can't say enough good things about Robert and his firm. We were in a situation for over 2 years and I could have never made it through without Robert's experience and knowledge. He guided me through tough times when needed and his expertise could "read" the situation and make the next best move for me. He was tough when he needed to be tough (thankfully) and at the same time guided me through the process to make me feel comfortable in an uncomfortable situation. I would not want to go through this process without Robert and his team having my back. he helped move the case along and not waste any time or money. One last time, I 100% endorse Robert and his expertise.

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