Drug Testing Parents in the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia
In parenting proceedings, parties are required to complete a Court form titled Notice of Child Abuse, Family Violence or Risk which discloses any allegations the parent may have against the other party which places children at risk.
If a party alleges there is a drug or substance abuse problem on behalf of a parent, then that parent may be required, via Court Orders, to undertake some form of drug testing. The drug testing can include urine samples and hair follicle samples which can trace drug use back to a number of months.
If there is an Independent Children’s Lawyer (ICL) appointed in the matter, the ICL can request random drug testing as part of their Orders sought on behalf of the child.
If a party refuses to partake in drug testing, the Court will most likely draw a negative inference that the results would have tested positive. This could severely negatively impact the parenting proceedings for that parent.
Drug testing is usually conducted between Court dates with the test results being required to be provided to all parties in the proceedings. It is common for each party to pay for their own drug testing. Costs can vary amongst private facilities.
Drug testing Orders are made by the Court in circumstances where there is a risk to the child and can continue for an indefinite period of time to protect the safety and wellbeing of the child as it is the Court’s responsibility to reduce such risks to the children.
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