Legal Marijuana and Family Law in Michigan
Be careful if and when you light up, or otherwise consume, marijuana, as you may get burned. Should you wish to indulge, consider the possible consequences if you find yourself in a divorce or a contested custody/parenting time fight.
Michigan Family Law Courts and Marijuana UseThe Michigan family law courts have and will consider marijuana use seriously when deciding divorce and custody/parenting time matters. Casual marijuana use is relevant to domestic disputes - especially when minor children are involved. Alcohol is also legal in Michigan, yet its use can affect marital breakdowns and impair parents. Marijuana, like alcohol, is a mood or mind-altering substance. Now that marijuana use is legal recreationally and medically, a complainant presumably will have to prove harm or risk as it relates to a minor child.
Marijuana Use Affecting Child's Best InterestsA court can limit or remove a parent's custody and/or parenting time if marijuana use affects the child's best interests. Custody and the amount of parenting time will be determined by each family's circumstances. Michigan Compiled Laws 722.23 defines the "best interests of the child" in Michigan child custody law. The courts look to this law when determining the parent's custody and parenting time with a child. For example, the courts look back to the length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment, and the desirability of maintaining continuity. MCL 722.23(d). A cause of instability may be substance abuse. The statute does not refer to whether the substance is "legal" or "illegal." The courts focus on what may cause instability in the child's life, and what impact does this have on the child. Misconduct by a parent may work against that parent in a custody and/or parenting time dispute. The concept of fault can be factored into a custody and/or parenting time decision. Therefore, courts will take into consideration the use of any drug, prescription or otherwise, and if such use poses a significant risk of harm or danger to a child, or proves to impair a parent's ability to care for a child.