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Can Marijuana Use Affect Child Custody in Illinois?

Posted on in Illinois Divorce

St. Charles Family Law AttorneyOn January 1, 2020, recreational marijuana use in Illinois became legal. Although this law means that a person could no longer be criminally charged for possessing cannabis, it did not address how family courts should address the issue when it comes to parental responsibility and parenting time issues, except to say that marijuana use, like alcohol use, cannot in and of itself be considered when making decisions about custody. 

The Best Interest of the Child Standard

When an Illinois family court judge is determining child custody, their decision will be based on the best interest of the child. It is generally accepted by the majority of judges that a child’s best interest is served best when both parents are actively involved in their life. There are exceptions to that, however, such as in cases where the welfare of the child could be in jeopardy because of the actions or behaviors of a parent.

One of the most common of these exceptions is substance abuse. When a parent struggles with a substance abuse issue, the court often imposes certain restrictions on how much and/or the type of parenting time the parent will have with the child.

Prior to the legalization of marijuana in Illinois, marijuana use by a parent was deemed illegal drug use by the courts, but now it is in the same category as alcohol use. Many parents engage in responsible social drinking that has no impact on their parental responsibilities. The same is now true for recreational marijuana use.

If you are a parent who uses marijuana and are involved in or have already gone through a child custody battle and want to avoid future court battles, there are steps to take to ensure that it does not become an issue your ex can use against you:

  • Do not use any cannabis products around your child.

  • Make sure any cannabis products you do have are in a location where your child cannot access them.

  • Never operate a vehicle under the influence of marijuana, even if your child is not with you. A DUI charge can be used against you in a custody fight.

Contact a St. Charles Family Law Attorney

If you have been accused by your ex of excessive marijuana use or you are concerned that your child’s safety is being put in danger because of your ex’s cannabis use, contact Weiler & Lengle P.C. to find out what legal options you may have. Call 630-382-8050 to schedule a confidential consultation with one of our skilled Kane County child custody lawyers.


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