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Why Are Alcohol and Drug Testing Essential in Family Law Cases?

— November 22, 2022

Drug and alcohol testing can accurately give interpretations on the subject’s toxicity, which can help the court arrive at the correct decisions for the betterment of the child and any family member involved.  

Alcohol and drugs profoundly affect one’s body, and their presence can cause one to make irrational decisions, do dangerous acts, and, possibly, commit violence. And, inside the most crucial basic unit of society, the family, their presence is unacceptable. Children must be protected from violence and abuses, and the family must remain intact for their benefit.  

Parents and children often succumb to addiction because of dire circumstances. In the United States, the 2020 numbers showed that about 28.3 million people had an alcohol addiction, while about 37.3 million were addicted to illegal drugs, including kids as young as 12. 

This situation has caused many problems for the entire nation, with the federal government spending close to USD$35 billion to control it. Many people have died because of it, acquired debilitating illnesses, like heart disease and mental illness, and caused many families to break apart. It’s a huge obstacle and a dilemma that’s difficult to control. 

In the most severe cases of alcohol and drug addiction, many family members would want a way out. But, they would need to prove allegations of substance abuse for them to be granted their freedom. In cases like this, they’d need court-ordered alcohol and drug testing from an approved organization, which would expertly interpret the tests, like what does. 

Alcohol and drug testing are required for many family court cases because they’d solidify the findings of the concerned parties. Here are the reasons they may be needed: 

Grounds For Granting Marriage Dissolution 

To formally and legally end a marriage in court, there should be reasons why you’re seeking its effectiveness. And, if you’re accusing your partner of violence because of substance abuse, you need to prove it in court.  

One spouse may file a motion for their partner to be tested for drugs or alcohol, but it’s up to the judge to determine if it’s necessary. In cases of chronic drug use, they could obtain a fault divorce, which eliminates the mandatory separation period because of the evidence of cruelty, desertion due to addiction, or being confined in prison because of drugs.

Grounds For Granting Child Custody

Laughing child in father's arms; image by Joice Kelly, via
Laughing child in father’s arms; image by Joice Kelly, via

The majority of the child’s custody rights may be given to the better parent. Under certain circumstances, custody won’t be given to a parent who abuses alcohol or illegal substances. The court will always act in the child’s best interest, and since drug and alcohol addiction can cause one to be violent and irresponsible, the court may not give the child to that parent.  

In child custody cases, factors like the age and health of the child, emotional ties with the parent, a parent’s financial capabilities, and the history of violence and substance abuse are all accounted for. This ensures that the child will grow up with the proper care and protection necessary for their growth.

Protection Against Domestic Violence 

Violence is inherent in someone who uses illegal drugs and alcohol. The toxic particles in those substances cause the disruption of neurons in the inhibitory receptors of the brain. In essence, drugs and alcohol weaken the areas that control impulses and urges. 

In many cases, alcohol myopia is evident. Alcohol myopia is when the intoxicated person narrows their focus like a camera lens to one specific thing that’s bringing them irritation. It could be a small thing, like a noise they don’t like hearing, their partner’s clothing, or the food served they didn’t like.  

This mundane thing can be magnified, and their irritability can grow out of proportion. This irritability can cause them to slap their partner, grab their hair, or kick them hard. Alcohol and drug testing can grant protection to someone suffering from domestic abuse. The court can grant a restraining order to the abuser so they’re prohibited from approaching or contacting the abused one.  

Grounds For Termination Of Parental Authority 

Children who suffer from excessive physical and emotional abuse because of alcohol and drug addiction may petition for parental authority termination. To prove this, the parents must undergo drug or alcohol testing. If the court finds the accused guilty, they’ll be deprived of parental authority to warrant the child’s welfare.  

Grounds For Undoing Guardianship 

If the minor child went to a guardian who was found to be similarly incompetent because of their alcohol or drug addiction, the child, with the help of an adult, may file a motion to redo the guardianship so the child can go to the most competent and caring person to raise them.


Family court cases are complicated matters that need delicate scrutiny to be resolved. But, the decision can be pretty straightforward in cases where drugs and alcohol abuse are evident. Drug and alcohol testing can accurately give interpretations on the subject’s toxicity, which can help the court arrive at the correct decisions for the betterment of the child and any family member involved.  

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