Evidence of Drug/Alcohol Use in Custody and Parental Rights

Be it a child custody dispute or a divorce settlement, determining the use of drugs or alcohol by one or both parties is important to many disputes in family courts. Allegations of unfit parenting often originate from assertions of drug and alcohol abuse and its manifestation in the parent in question.

Drug and alcohol abuse during pregnancy is especially dangerous. First, drugs may harm the pregnant motherís health, interfering with her ability to support the pregnancy. Second, some drugs directly impair prenatal development. During different stages of the pregnancy, abuse of drugs, even legal drugs such as alcohol can cause damaging and lasting effects on the fetus, including: facial and limb deformities, premature birth, and low birth weight.

Toxicology tests, when properly performed and confirmed, indicate use within a varying period of time depending on the drug and its dose. Methodology for testing is tailored to upon the specific forensic inquiry; it is incumbent upon the forensic toxicologist to identify toxicants using accepted analytical methods and up to date instrumentation.

Such tests do not disclose a pattern of use or the presence of dependence. For this aspect of the case, The Forensic Panelís expert toxicologist explores all available information, including the patientís history, information from relatives, neighbors or employer, physical examination and laboratory tests.

Peer review adds to the diligence of the history-gathering and safeguards its objectivity. The Forensic Panelís toxicologists have the experience and expertise to engage the hidden points of such contentious cases, and the integrity to oversee colleagues to ensure our findings are definitive and fair.