Legal Marijuana Use In Washington State And Divorce And Child Custody

Washington State has legalized the use of marijuana.  Clients are now frequently asking whether or not their use of marijuana will impact their divorce or a custody determination.  Much like alcohol use (or abuse), it depends on whether the use of marijuana has an impact on a parent’s ability to parent.  Under RCW 26.09.191(3)(c), “A parent’s involvement or conduct may have an adverse effect on the child’s best interests, and the court may preclude or limit any provisions of the parenting plan, if any of the following factors exist: .  . . A long-term impairment resulting from drug, alcohol, or other substance abuse that interferes with the performance of parenting functions.”  Thus, whether a parent’s use of marijuana will impact a custody determination or limitations under a parenting plan is case specific with the central question for the Court being whether or not that use (or abuse) interferes with the parent’s ability to parent

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