In Michigan, custody and parenting time disputes are decided with consideration to the statutory best interest factors, such as the parent’s capacity to give the child guidance, provide the child with appropriate care, and the moral fitness of the parties. The best interest factors also contain a broad catch-all factor that allows the court to consider any other factor that it may deem relevant. This has spurred many divorced and separated parents to ask an important question: Will marijuana use impact a child custody case?
Since marijuana is now legal in Michigan, a court will not view marijuana use as an issue in many custody and parenting time disputes. Michigan law provides that a court can only consider legal marijuana use when it creates an unreasonable danger to the minor child. In fact, the two acts legalizing both medical and adult-use marijuana go so far as to address how legal marijuana consumption should be considered in these disputes.
The Michigan Medical Marihuana Act (MMMA) specifically provides that a person cannot be denied custody or visitation as long as they are in compliance with the law:
A person shall not be denied custody or visitation of a minor for acting in accordance with this act, unless the person’s behavior is such that it creates an unreasonable danger to the minor that can be clearly articulated and substantiated.
Similarly, the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act (MRTMA), which legalized adult-use marijuana, provides a near-identical provision concerning custody and visitation:
A person shall not be denied custody of or visitation with a minor for conduct that is permitted by this act, unless the person’s behavior is such that it creates an unreasonable danger to the minor that can be clearly articulated and substantiated.
While a parent’s legal marijuana use cannot be used to deny custody or visitation, both statutes still leave an exception if a parent can clearly articulate and substantiate that the marijuana use creates an unreasonable danger to the child. Because of this exception, legal marijuana use may be considered by the court when analyzing the best interest factors, but it will be the same as how a court may consider the effects of alcohol and prescription drug use.
Consuming marijuana while caring for the child, driving under the influence of marijuana with the child, and failing to safely store marijuana away from the child are all risky behaviors that the court may still consider under both the MMMA and MRTMA.
Our team of attorneys at Grewal Law PLLC can help you navigate child custody and parenting time disputes. Contact us at (888) 211-5798 to schedule a free consultation.