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Medical marijuana user wins child-custody battle

Most Washington parents would agree that spending time with their children is one of the greatest pleasures in life. Due to unforeseen circumstances, however, such a simple task can prove to be a huge challenge for some parents, especially those who are divorced. In these instances, parental relocation and child custody arrangements can be major barriers for individuals hoping to spend time with their children. While some divorced parents agree to share parenting plans and establish a residential schedule in which the child spends time with both parents, others face a drawn-out court battle over child custody itself.

In a recent family law judgment, a Spokane County Superior Court judge awarded custody of a 16-month-old girl to her father, a medical marijuana user. According to the father, his ex-wife left him while she was pregnant, and it was only months later that he learned his daughter had been put into state care. When the father arrived in Spokane to take custody of his daughter, the mother's boyfriend showed up with a birth certificate that falsely named him as the girl's father.

A paternity test soon proved who the biological father was, but that was not the end of the father's travails. As a condition of obtaining custody of his daughter, he had to undergo several court-ordered evaluations, one of which required him to undergo inpatient chemical dependency treatment. But the father successfully argued he could not be denied custody of his child because he had been prescribed marijuana under Washington's state's laws governing medical marijuana use.

Family law matters like this can be complex, especially if an individual does not know or understand Washington State's family laws. Hence, for matters related to divorce, child custody, paternity, establishing a parenting plan, child support or parental relocation, anyone who needs sound advice should consult a lawyer who has experience in dealing with such cases in Washington State.

Source: KXLY.com, "Father wins medical marijuana custody battle," Mia Carlson, Jan. 29, 2014

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