This is the next post in my series on the handling of Virginia child custody cases which involve drug use. My last article discussed what to expect at an initial child custody hearing when there is an allegation of substance abuse. The Court can rule in multiple ways at the initial hearing. Assuming that the Court sets a trial date, at which it will make a permanent decision regarding custody, it will be necessary to gather evidence in support of your case. In this article I will discuss how to gather such evidence through the discovery process. It is best to retain an attorney who is experienced in handling such matters. If you require assistance then contact my office today to speak with a lawyer.
Discovery is the process by which information is gained from the other side in a lawsuit. I previously discussed how discovery is used in child custody cases as a general matter. These concepts also apply to matters which involve drug use. Interrogatories can be used to require the other side to provide written answers to a set of questions. Requests for Production can be used to require the other side to provide documents, records, and other physical evidence. Finally, a deposition can be used to interview the opposing party or some other witnesses. Depositions occur in the presence of a court reporter and the witness will be under oath at the time of their interview. A transcript of the interview will be generated and, if they attempt to change their testimony later, then the transcript can be used to point out the inconsistency.
Discovery will focus on substance abuse issues in cases which involve drug use. The other side can be required to sign a medical release so that you may obtain medical records, blood tests, etc. which may show that the individual has previously tested positive for drugs. You can also obtain arrest reports, employment files, and other information which show that the individual was fired from their employer or taken into custody due to drug use. Cell phone records and text messages can be obtained to show that the accused party has been in contact with individuals known to use or distribute drugs. Finally, bank records may show withdrawals that may be associated with drug use. The type of evidence needed in such a case will always depend on the specifics of a situation. It is vital that you speak with an attorney in order to ensure that your case is handled properly.
I am a child custody lawyer who handles matters involving drug use by a parent in Virginia Beach and Norfolk. I will use your initial consultation to help you understand what it is you should expect from the process and I will quickly file any necessary motions if the other parent is believed to be using drugs. Contact my office today to schedule an initial consultation. We also service Chesapeake, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Newport News, Hampton, Williamsburg, and Yorktown, as well as the surrounding counties of Northampton, Isle of Wight, York and James City.