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How Marijuana Use or Business May Affect your Family Law Case

marijuana, california, family law, attorney, lawyer

Allegations Of Marijuana Use Only Relevant In Custody Cases

California is a “No Fault” dissolution state, which means that the companion filing for divorce does not have to verify any wrongdoing (in this case marijuana use) on the part of the opposing spouse.  Allegations of marijuana use would only be relevant in family law case regarding custody of children.

The main concern in question is always ability of the parent to provide a safe and healthy environment to ensure the “best interest of the child.”  This prioritization of the child is the rule of thumb for all family law issues in which children are involved. Any indication of a parent’s actions not being conducive to providing a healthy, mental, physical, and psychological environment for their child will put the accused parent on bad footing.

In regard to marijuana use by a parent,  some of the questions asked by authorities are:

“Is the marijuana accessible to the children?”

“Is the parent incapacitated to the point where they cannot properly care for the child?”


Marijuana Proposition 64

In addition to legitimizing recreational use of marijuana, Prop. 64 adds protection for parents who are also cannabis users. Among them: California family law courts may no longer restrict a parent’s rights to custody solely based on their medical marijuana recommendation. State authorities say that it’s nothing different, insisting they restrict custody of the children only if there’s a clear evidence of danger to the children due to marijuana use.

So even though Prop. 64 might not show instant effects on how family law cases are administered in some California districts, it does, for the first time in state law declare there must justification beyond the mere status of being a medical cannabis patient for authorities to rescind parental rights. This important spelled out law will surely affect the arguments and outcomes of future family law and child custody cases.

It was once easy to put an opposing spouse/parent on bad legal footing with allegations of marijuana use but that playing card no longer holds the same stigmatizing power it once did in California family law rulings. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean marijuana use will be ignored as a factor in a determination to remove children from a parent’s custody. California Family Law attorneys must still address all concerns raised by Department of Children and Family Services about potential threats to a child’s safety.


Marijuana as Business Income Can Create Issues in Support Cases

Another aspect of family law where marijuana has been shown to be an issue is in Child Support or Spousal Support cases. The federal government currently does not allow the California cannabis industry to use the federal banking system. In turn, marijuana (as business income) presents itself as an issue in financial aspects of family law support cases which depend on financial receipts and bank records to establish income.

If you find yourself facing child custody or support issues dealing with facets of marijuana use or cannabis industry financial complications speak with a highly experienced certified family law specialist with financial expertise.



Charles M. Green is Certified as a California Family Law Specialist through the Board of Legal Specialization of the State Bar of California. He has worked extensively in both financial accounting fields and as a litigation attorney specializing in Family Law Cases. He is also diversely experienced in a number of other legal practice areas of importance to individuals, families, and businesses.