If My Child’s Other Parent is Using Drugs, How Do I Protect My Child in California?

Other parent is not allowing me to see my children in Orange County, CA
How do I modify Child custody, visitation and support orders in OC California?

FAQ: The other parent is using drugs, how do I protect my child if I reside in Orange County CA;  I do not want the children to visit with him/her as ordered by the court, what can I do?

If My Child’s Other Parent is Using Drugs; How Do I Protect My Child in OC California?

If you are concerned that your child’s other parent is not providing a safe environment for your child while the child is in the custody of that parent, it is important for your child that you make an effort to protect him or her.

However, it is important to remember that a custody order cannot be changed simply because you do not agree with what your child’s other parent is allowing while the child is spending time with that parent; the actions of the other parent will need to put the child in danger, or not be in the best interests of the child in order for the custody order to be successfully modified through the court.

Ultimately, if your child is in danger or your child's other parent is exposing the child to drug abuse, you will want to modify your child custody agreement so that the child spends less time, or limited and supervised time with that parent in order to avoid exposure to potentially damaging or dangerous situations. However, the modification of a court order may take some time, so it’s important to take action quickly to protect your child now.

Until a modification has been made to the existing custody and visitation order, the current one is valid. No matter how old your child may be, if you prevent your child from spending time with the child’s other parent without modifying the child custody agreement, you could face legal consequences. The existing court order is legally valid and enforceable until a new one has been created.

If your child is in danger, contact a family law attorney as soon as possible so that you can work to protect your child now.

Ex Parte Child Custody Orders in Orange County, California

Ex Parte Child Custody Orders in Orange County, California

An ex parte order is a temporary court order that provides temporary protection for a person or a group of people who are in immediate danger.

If your child’s other parent is using drugs and is failing to provide a safe and healthy environment for your child, that may be a way to show the court that the other parent is not putting the child’s best needs first. If this is the case, you may have a valid reason for both an ex parte custody order and a modification to your current child custody order if you have one.

Usually, in order to modify a court order and receive long term protection, a court case will take up to six weeks. However, that would mean exposing your child to drug abuse for at least six more weeks, which is not in the best interest of the child.

Filing for an ex parte child custody order, or an emergency custody order, is a great way to protect your child now.

If you file for an emergency or ex parte custody order in California, remember that it will only be valid temporarily, and they are extremely difficult to obtain. It is always best, especially when it comes to protecting your children, to discuss your unique situation with a qualified family lawyer in California who can ensure you are prepared for your case and help protect your child.

You will need to show the court that the existing situation allows a great risk of immediate harm to the child.

You can find additional information about this in California Code section 3064.

Requesting an Emergency or Ex Parte Custody Order in California

Requesting an Emergency or Ex Parte Custody Order in California

If you find the ex parte process to confusing, request a free consultation from a family law attorney who is experienced with ex parte child custody orders in OC California. The attorney will be able to advise you on what the courts deem an emergency. In other words, what you may feel is an emergency, the judge/court may not see it as an emergency. Learn more about ex-parte.

To request an ex parte child custody order in Southern California, follow these steps.

Court Forms

You will need to obtain and fill out the following court forms. Have them reviewed by an attorney if possible, but remember that protecting your child is the first priority.

• Request for Order
• Temporary Emergency Court Orders
• Declaration - this will allow you to explain why you wish to obtain a temporary order, and why it is necessary.
• Any existing agreement regarding custody that exists between you and your child's other parent should be included.

Filing Your Forms

If you are ready to file the paperwork, make sure that you have two copies in addition to the original. The court will keep the original. Prior to granting a temporary order, the judge will need to review your paperwork. The clerk will let you know when you may return to the courthouse and pick up your papers. It is usually faster for you to obtain the paperwork in person than to wait for it in the mail.

Picking up Your Forms

When you return to pick up your court forms, the first page should let you know whether the judge has chosen to award you any temporary court orders. Remember that even if you were awarded temporary court orders on an emergency basis, they are only valid until your court date, by which time both you and your child’s other parent will likely have an attorney and be prepared to come to terms on a more long term solution.

Your papers may or may not require you and your child’s other parent to attend mediation to attempt to work out the custody order on your own, however, when drug use is involved, it may not be simple to figure out during mediation.

Long Term Child Custody Solutions in California

Long Term Child Custody Solutions in California

Ultimately, you will need to have a long-term child custody solution. You may need to either create a child custody order if one does not exist, or modify an existing child custody order.

When creating your new child custody order, the court will likely make an attempt to keep both parents in the child’s life. In order to accommodate this, whether you work out a custody agreement in mediation, on your own, or with the help of a professional, you should know that you have options for protecting your child while still allowing him or her to spend time with the other parent.

First of all, there are two types of custody: legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody dictates which parent will make decisions for the child, while physical custody dictates with whom your child spends his or her time.

If you can show that your child’s other parent is making decisions regarding the child that are not in his or her best interest, for example, placing the child in situations where drug and alcohol use and abuse are common, it is likely that you can apply for full legal custody. This means that you will be able to make decisions for the child regarding health, wellbeing, religion, education, and other things.

Physical custody, on the other hand, may be trickier. While substance abuse will mean that your child’s other parent will probably not end up with sole custody of the child, it does not necessarily mean that you will either.

If you do ask for sole custody (and when substance abuse is an issue, this is not unreasonable to ask,) you may want to add a visitation agreement to your parenting plan. This shows the court that you value the child’s relationship with the other parent, but you want what is best for the child.

Consider the following options when it comes to visitation.

Scheduled Visitation

Scheduled Visitation in Orange County, California

If you are willing to allow visitation with the child’s other parent, it is probably in your child’s best interest to allow only scheduled visitation.

This means that the court will likely use a calendar and schedule specific days, times, meeting places, etc. that the child will spend visiting with the noncustodial parent. If you also ask for supervised visitation, it may include the name of the person to do the supervising.

Supervised Visitation

In addition to scheduled visitation, consider supervised visitation. This allows the noncustodial parent to spend time with the child, but only when another adult is present. This might be a good option if the noncustodial parent wishes to show that he or she is responsible, trustworthy, and has the child’s best interests in mind. It also allows you the peace of mind that comes with knowing that your child will not be exposed to drugs and other substances that are not in the child’s best interests.

Supervisors may include you, a professional, a family friend, or another person appointed by the court.

Parent is using drugs, how do I protect my child by Creating a Child Custody Order to Protect my Child

If you are concerned about the safety of your child while he or she is spending time with the other parent, it is important to take action and to contact an attorney as soon as possible. An ex parte order can go into effect within a few days at the most: the sooner you take action the better off your child will be.

Other parent is not allowing me to see my children in Orange County, CA
How do I modify Child custody, visitation and support orders in OC California?

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