Does Medicinal Marijuana Use Affect Child Custody?

Live at Five’s family attorney Sonya Coffman answers questions submitted by KFDM News viewers. These questions include:

  • Does medicinal marijuana use affect child custody?
  • How do I start social security benefits for my child?
  • Is child support still required if the child does not live with either parent?
  • How can you terminate the parental rights of someone who is behind in child support payments?
  • How do you establish a trust fund for a child with special needs?


Medicinal marijuana cases are making their way to the family courts in California. Child Protective Services claim that a man who smoke pot four or five times a week for arthritis pain was endangering his child. The courts have appeals unanimously found no evidence that the father had a drug problem and that the child was well cared for. Is this something that we will be seeing more of the in the coming years? Live at Five's family attorney Sonya Kaufman joins us now with the answer. Plus answers to your questions regarding family law. Is this something will be seeing more of? I don't think in Texas we'll be seeing that anytime soon. But maybe Colorado and Washington, the two states that legalized the, the drug. Maybe so. That's a real interesting phenomena that's crossing over into family courts but I'd, I'd just have to say I disagree with that. The courts here would say that someone who smokes marijuana that much, probably shouldn't have custody of their child so that's a very interesting decisions. Well we've got lots of questions so let's go to our KFDM News Facebook page. Ah, this person posted, my son's father passed away and, uh, in early December of this year and I need to get my son registered with Social Security for death benefits. He's only thirteen, please help me get this ball rolling. Where does she start? Wow, I'd contact the local Social Security Office and they will direct her. It may be that the forms she can download them online to speed that up, but that's what she needs to do. Okay. The next question. Does the father, that's paying child support, have to continue paying if the child, age seventeen, does not live in the home of the custodial parent and is pregnant? Wow, that's a good question, I could see what someone would ask that. If there's an order, saying that the father pays child support of till the child is eighteen or graduates from high school whichever comes later, then that order, is the order of the court. So if the father thinks that the circumstances weren't modifying that then he needs to either go to the A.G.'s office or go through a private attorney to come before the court. Just the fact that the child does not live at home with the parent whose receiving child support doesn't automatically mean that the courts will cut out the child support however. Ok. And how can you terminate parental rights on a person who as forty thousand dollars and back child support? The short answer is you can't. Uh, the law in Texas is very clear that and child support is not linked to visitation or custody so they need to go about enforcing the child support and if there issues that say the father's rights should be terminated that's a separate issue and they would need to file a termination case with the court. Okay, uh... We have an eighteen year old son with intellectual disabilities. We want to set up a special needs trust fund that won't interfere with his benefits in the future. Do we need to take a specialized attorney or can any attorney with the state planning experience do this? That's a great idea. I think that's exactly what these people need to do is a special needs trust and an attorney who does estate planning is exactly who they need to speak with. Alright Sonya and as always we appreciate you stopping by. Unfortunately we are out of time but we will get to more questions in the new year and we appreciate you stopping by.