Recreational marijuana is now legal in Illinois. This can impact Illinois divorce cases if one spouse is a cannabis user, specifically in asset distribution and child custody. Because it is legal in Illinois, recreational cannabis use will have little effect on most divorce cases. However, in some instances, it can have an impact. Understanding this potential impact will help divorcing couples take measures to protect themselves.
Division of Assets
One way recreational marijuana use can impact a divorce is in asset distribution. In Illinois, marital assets are those gained by either party during the marriage. This includes income set aside in savings accounts, physical property, and real estate.
Marijuana use can be costly, and sometimes people will use marital assets to purchase marijuana for recreational use. If one party can prove that assets were sold or used to fuel the recreational marijuana hobby, this is known as the dissipation of assets. Dissipation of assets for recreational drug use may give the other spouse the right to ask for more of the marital property during the divorce proceedings. Divorce lawyers can help guide clients in understanding how the dissipation of assets affects the division of marital property.
Child Custody and Marijuana Use
Recreational marijuana use may also impact child custody. Divorcing parents in Illinois must agree on a parenting plan during the divorce or the courts will determine parenting time for them. Lawyers can help with this, but ultimately it is up to the courts to determine how much parenting time each parent gets and how the parenting responsibilities are shared after the divorce. Since recreational marijuana use is legal in Illinois, it is not a factor the courts consider when approving parenting plans or allocating parenting time. However, if the parent that is not using cannabis feels marijuana use may impact the other parent’s parenting abilities, he or she can express concern to the court and the divorce attorney. The court will then examine the case more closely to see if marijuana use is putting the child’s health or wellbeing at risk. Using marijuana in front of the children, for instance, could be deemed as putting the child’s health and wellbeing at risk, and could impact the custody and parenting time arrangements.