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kane county child custody lawyerThe marijuana landscape in the United States has been rapidly changing for the past couple of years. In 2020, the state of Illinois legalized marijuana for adult recreational use, making it legal for adults to purchase, use, and possess cannabis under certain circumstances. However, even though it is legal in Illinois, cannabis remains federally illegal. It is still classified as a Schedule I substance, which is thought to be the most dangerous class of drugs. Many parents going through a divorce typically have concerns about their children and how their parenting time and decision-making responsibilities will be allocated. Parents who are legal marijuana users often worry if their drug use will affect their ability to gain custody over their child. However, the answer to that question can be complicated. 

What Does the Law Say?

According to the Illinois Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act, there are certain situations in which cannabis use cannot be used to discriminate against certain individuals -- including parents. The Act states that a parent, legal guardian, grandparent, or another person who is responsible for caring for a child is protected from discrimination for their marijuana use when it comes to determining things like child custody, parenting time and decision-making responsibilities. This means that you cannot be denied your parental rights by the court for the sole fact that you are a cannabis user.

How Do Judges Decide?

However, that does not bar the court from making decisions pertaining to child custody if your cannabis use endangers the welfare of your child. Typically a court will conduct a hearing if your child’s other parent expresses concern about their child’s wellbeing because of your marijuana use. If this is the case, the court will examine the facts surrounding the situation similarly to how they examine alcohol use. If the court finds that your usage interferes with your child’s wellbeing, they may place restrictions on parenting time or decision-making responsibilities. Examples of marijuana usage that may affect custody include:

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Kane County family law attorney parenting time

If the health, safety, or well-being of a child is in question, the court may opt to either suspend or restrict the parenting time of a parent. Alternatively, the court may order supervised visitations. In either case, it is the concerned parent who carries the burden of proof. Sadly, far too many parents are not prepared and their children continue to face danger for longer than necessary. Learn more about how to protect your child with help from the following information and an experienced attorney.

Burden of Proof

Parenting time in Illinois is protected, not for the sake of the parent, but for the sake of the child. In short, it indicates that a child has the right to emotional and financial support from each parent. So, under the eyes of the law, the restriction, suspension, or order of supervised parenting time is a limitation of the child’s rights. It is from this angle that parents can understand why a preponderance of evidence is needed to limit or restrict parenting time.

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Kane County family law attorny child custody

Family court judges are required to make decisions based upon the best interests of a child in any allocation of parental responsibilities case—previously known as “child custody” in Illinois. The judge will have to decide which home is the best place for the child to live most of the time. As a divorced parent, you may be wondering if the school district you live in will influence that decision.

Education Is One Factor

There are many different factors that go into making a decision that is in the best interest of the child in a divorce. The type of education a child will receive is an important consideration, but it is only one factor among many. Other factors Illinois judges look at when deciding what is in a child’s best interest include:

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