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Drug testing false positives and custody issues

Most California parents whose marriages have come to an end genuinely want what is best for their young children. Unfortunately, during custody disputes, accusations of drug use can become an issue. In response to such accusations, or knowledge that a parent has had issues with drugs in the past, the ccourts may order drug testing.

While requiring parents to undergo drug testing to determine whether they should continue to have custody of or unsupervised visitation with their children, there are drawbacks. Unfortunately, some drug tests can register false positives. This means that the test indicates that the parent has been using drugs even though the parent has actually remained drug-free.

For example, hair follicle tests that detect the presence of cannabis may be inaccurate. This is because the parent undergoing the test may have touched something that had previously been touched by a cannabis user. The parent then touched his or her own hair, distributing residue and triggering a false positive. Similarly, the parent may inadvertently be exposed to cannabis smoke in someone else's home, outdoors or at a concert venue. This can register a false positive which may be enough to allow the other parent to ask the ccourts for a child custody modification.

A parent who is concerned about child custody issues, including drug testing, may benefit from speaking with an experienced family law attorney. The attorney may be able to review the current arrangement and advise as to whether changes may be appropriate. Parents who have undergone a drug test and believe that it is registering a false positive may also benefit from having an attorney review their case and the method of testing used.

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