Denver Divorce Lawyer News & Blog

Will Recreational Marijuana Use Affect My Divorce Proceedings?


In 2012, Colorado voters passed Amendment 64, which put the state on the leading edge of liberalizing marijuana laws. Though it is still not allowed under federal law, recreational use of cannabis is permitted in Colorado.

This complex legal framework raises a number of questions. For example, if you are getting divorced in Denver, CO, you may be wondering how recreational marijuana could impact the proceedings. In child custody and visitation proceedings, use of marijuana ”” along with the use of any other impairing substance ”” could potentially be a factor in the case.

How Recreational Marijuana Use Might Impact Child Custody Cases

Under Colorado law (C.R.S. § 14-10-124), child custody cases are resolved under the state’s best interests of the child standard. Simply put, Colorado courts are instructed to make determinations in accordance with what is best for the health, safety, emotional well-being, and social development of the child. In doing so, family law judges can look to many different factors ”” including recreational marijuana use.

To be clear, recreational marijuana use will not automatically disqualify a parent from gaining custody. Instead, it may simply be a factor in the case. In considering this issue, the most useful comparator is alcohol use. While it is certainly legal to drink, alcohol use can still be in an issue in child custody/child visitation disputes. If evidence is presented that shows that a parent’s alcohol use (or alternatively, their recreational marijuana use) adversely affects their ability to provide stability and safety for their child, then that fact may be used against them in child custody proceedings.

Be Ready to Show You Can Provide a Great Environment for Your Child

If you are going through a child custody or child visitation dispute in Colorado, the most important thing that you need to know is that you must be able to show that you can provide a healthy, happy, and safe environment for your child. Colorado courts are primarily interested in what is best for the children.

Evidence of recreational marijuana use does not mean that a parent is irresponsible. However, if there is any evidence that the marijuana use can be linked to poor or inattentive parenting, then the marijuana use will become a factor in the child custody case. For example, if a parent got behind the wheel while intoxicated on marijuana or if they repeatedly forgot to pick up their child because they were smoking marijuana, that will be a major strike against them in any child custody or child visitation proceeding.

Contact Our Denver Divorce Attorneys Today

At Divorce Matters, our top-rated Lakewood divorce attorneys are committed to providing our clients trusted, reliable family law advice when they need it most. If you have questions about recreational marijuana use and divorce, we can help.

To set up a fully confidential family law consultation, please do not hesitate to contact our law office at (720) 580-6745. With locations in Greenwood Village, Lakewood, and Fort Collins, we represent clients throughout Colorado.