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Parents' use of pot can still affect their custody rights

With Colorado leading the charge for states with legal sales and usage of recreational marijuana, some Denver residents have been lulled into the belief that smoking pot will have no repercussions on their lives.

Disregarding the recent revelation that the President and his Attorney General intend to pursue prosecution of those who use and sell marijuana in states where it has been legalized to do so, there are additional factors to consider.

Parents' pot use can adversely affect their custody arrangements

Colorado parents have lost custody of their kids due to marijuana usage. This is particularly a problem when parents are battling for custody of their children in a divorce. All it takes is for the parent who doesn't indulge to make an allegation that the other parent's marijuana use has affected one's ability to effectively supervise the kids.

Even though pot use is legal here in Colorado, on the federal level, it's still a Schedule I drug like heroin. That alone is enough for some family law judges and Child Protection Services (CPS) workers to consider removing the children from the home of an alleged pot-smoking parent.

In the past, legislators have attempted to amend the law stating that parental pot usage must also cause provable risk or harm to the kids in order to constitute abuse. The effort was abandoned due to opposition and lack of a consensus on the matter, however.

A member of the Colorado Drug Investigators Association alleged that "(t)here are people who are very reckless with what they're doing, leaving marijuana brownies on the coffee table . . . (they're not looking at) how it is affecting the children."

Preparing for a custody battle may involve a detox

When you battle it out in court with an ex over custody issues, it can get down and dirty. In many — but not all — cases, it is a better choice to attempt to mediate the custody matter than hash it out in court. This requires that both spouses are on equal footing without one spouse being dominated or abused by the other. Both must also agree to civilly discuss the matters.

However, some cases simply must be adjudicated in court when the parties fail to reach accord. When this occurs, parental pot use can become a stumbling block in the road to shared or primary custody. It may be wise to begin 2018 with a detox program to remove this obstacle to your full participation as a co-parent to your kids.

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