In children’s matters, the Family Court has the power to make parties to the proceedings undertake drug testing through independent testing agencies.
Drug testing can be ordered to be conducted by urinalysis testing (the testing of urine for drugs) or through hair follicle testing (the testing of hair strands).
In circumstances where there are allegations of long term drug use, hair follicle testing is preferred to determine whether there is ongoing serious drug use. This can give up to three months of history.
Drug testing is usually ordered to be in accordance with particular standards so there is certainty regarding testing procedures and the agency providing the tests.
Applying for orders for drug testing
When parties make their Applications to the Court, they may request interim orders (orders to be made as soon as possible) for a party to undertake drug testing.
The request must be supported by evidence from the party requesting the testing, usually on the basis of their observations and experience provided by way of an Affidavit (a sworn statement of truth) to the Court.
Drug testing can be ordered on a reciprocal basis depending on the allegations and evidence and you may choose to consent if you are not using drugs or wish for evidence of mutual drug use to be available to the Court.
A positive drug test of itself does not mean that you will not be able to spend time with your children. In some circumstances, supervised time can still occur while any drug issues are being addressed.
The Court can recommend parties undergo specific programs and show improvement before progressing time. In more serious circumstances, time will not be allowed immediately but the parent using drugs may be directed to appropriate programs to assist them.