Are you a parent heading toward divorce and worried about the outcome when it comes to custody? If you have prior or ongoing drug convictions, you may be concerned that they will affect your ability to be involved in the life of your kid. Are you going to lose all rights to see your kid at all? Will you only receive visitation rights instead of joint custody?

All of these questions are probably stressing you out and overwhelming you. While each case is unique, below is some insight into how drug charges may influence your child custody decision. 

When the family court may get involved

If your soon-to-be ex-spouse reports your substance abuse to the family court or via the Department of Child Protective Services, the court will likely formally look into how it affects your ability to parent effectively. This will usually come up during a custody hearing. 

How the court may respond

The main concern of the court will be if any drug use puts your child at risk or hinders your parenting abilities. If you had a conviction for marijuana possession 10 years ago and have been clean ever since, the impact on custody will probably be minimal. But if you have recent and/or more serious convictions, there will probably be a more thorough investigation, and it could have more of an impact. According to LiveStrong, a severe substance abuse problem may result in the loss of parental rights

What you should do

First, if you are facing any criminal charges, you should enlist the help of a criminal defense lawyer. A good lawyer may be able to reduce or drop your charges. You may even be able to get expungements for past convictions. Secondly, make sure you get help for any ongoing substance abuse problems. Going to rehab and remaining clean will increase your chances of being involved in the life of your child.