Forced Drug Testing, Divorce . . . and an online exam!

By The Law Offices of Ronald H. Kauffman of Ronald H. Kauffman, P.A. posted in Divorce on Tuesday, September 8, 2015.

It’s been said that divorce is stressful. OK, I said it, but I’m not alone. Psychologists have been saying that too. Can you be ordered to take a psychological evaluation or a drug test because divorce is so stressful?

How much stress does it take to push you “over the edge”?

Not everything is equally hard to deal with. I’ve written on the subject of stress before. The stress of divorce is more stressful than a change in responsibilities at work. The Social Readjustment Rating Scale (SRRS), more commonly known as the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale, helps you measure your total stress score.

You can take the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale test now by clicking here.

It happens more frequently than you think. A witness meets you outside of court. Then, you are surprised to see that person in court ready to testify that you’re a drug addict, or crazy, or worse. Suddenly you’re ordered to be examined by a psychologist, take a drug test, or some other exam.

That’s scary in a custody battle because the mere fact that the court thinks there is suspicion for you to be examined can be unsettling in a high stakes case.

I recently won an appeal defending against exactly this situation. Generally, compulsory evaluations are only authorized when the requesting party has good cause for the examination, and the issue is actually in controversy.

This had been the law for psychological and physical examinations, but no appellate court had really addressed the issue of drug testing. In my recent appeal, the court tackled that issue specifically creating a precedent for other courts in the state.

As often happens in court, witnesses and attorneys make a lot of arguments and conclusory allegations about the other side’s health conditions, or drug use, or mental state, and otherwise attack their character.

What the appellate court seems to be saying in this recent appeal is that conclusory allegations alone do not put a person’s condition “in controversy”. Additionally, those mere allegations are not necessarily “good cause” for a forced exam.

This recent victory is a big win for Floridians, as the case becomes binding precedent on all Florida trial courts until there is a conflicting district court opinion, or until the Florida Supreme Court steps in.