If you're reading this post, you may have a child with someone who has a drug problem. Maybe you haven't divorced them yet, or maybe you divorced them and are sharing custody and visitation rights. Either way, it's not an easy situation.
But I want to share with you a couple of points of law that may help. There are two important Arkansas statutes that can help folks in your situation. The first is Arkansas Code § 9-13-109, which states, "In a proceeding concerning child custody, child visitation, or the welfare of a child, the court may order drug testing of a party." Furthermore, "[t]he court may assess the cost of drug testing to a party or parties."
What does this mean for you? It means that if you are involved in any case involving a child, you can ask the court to order drug tests of the relevant parties. This may include the parent, their spouse or a grandparent or other relative that lives in the home. Often, the court will have the party that is asking for the drug test (you) pay for the cost upfront. But if the party being tested fails the drug test, then they will be ordered to reimburse you.
The other statute that is sometimes helpful in these circumstances is Arkansas Code § 9-15-105, which says that "[a]ny parent of a minor child in a circuit court case may petition the court to order a criminal records check of the other parent of the minor child or other adult member of the household." This will included a check of the Arkansas Crime Information Center (ACIC), and a check of the Sex Offender registry. The court will order the party requesting the background check (you) to pay for it.
It's important to note that sometimes misdemeanor offenses will not show up on an ACIC records check. Small offenses, like traffic or shoplifting, may not be in their system. In those cases, you'll have to do the legwork yourself by going to the records department of the police department where the person was arrested and submitting a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for that information.
An attorney can help you do all these things are more. There are statutes and case law that an attorney can use to help you win your case. Come talk to Leslie and find out more.