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How drug use affects your right to custody

You always enjoyed smoking and otherwise using marijuana, particularly when you lived in states that allowed it. Now, in Texas, you've been caught smoking while going through a divorce. You have children, and you worry that it could impact your right to see and care for them.

The reality is that while it could affect your rights, it won't necessarily work out that way. Your primary concern should be eliminating drug use from your home and doing what you can to avoid a conviction. While working through your divorce, you need to take steps to show that you are a respectful and responsible parent. If you did not have your children with you at the time of an arrest, that works better in your favor.

Custody in Texas: Your rights

Initially, when two parents file a case, they both have equal rights to their children. It's through parenting agreements and court input that parents eventually split up their time with their children and decide on who has physical and legal custody. For most couples, a written plan they agree on is submitted, and the court then approves it. This may even be the case if you previously faced drug charges.

For instance, if the other parent has no major problem with the arrest and you work out an arrangement between yourselves, there is still a chance for the court to approve your parenting agreement. However, keep in mind that a judge has the right to alter any parenting plan that he or she does not agree with.

How can you help yourself maintain custody rights?

People make mistakes, and no judge expects every parent to be perfect. However, it is in your best interests to come to court prepared. Speak to the judge with respect. Don't come in T-shirts or jeans. Wear appropriate attire, like a suit or business clothing, to show that you're taking the case seriously.

When you appear before a judge, never interrupt him or her, and answer questions as they're asked. Your attorney will also be present and has the ability to help if you're not sure if you should or can answer a question posed by the court.

While your divorce case will eventually go before a judge, it's not a criminal trial. Do your best to be respectful of the judge, your attorney and your spouse, so you make the best impression on the judge that you can.

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Vela & Del Fierro, PLLC, Attorneys at Law
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San Antonio, Texas 78204

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