Wedding Woes

I mean, consult a lawyer, but I think you're overly worried.

Dear Prudence,

I have a dilemma. Over the past couple years, my spouse has started growing cannabis in our yard. I have overall been okay with this. I do like to smoke sometimes, and this saves us some money. We live in a state where this is completely legal and above board, so no worries there. My issue is that I share custody of my child with my ex, and my child is entering their tween years. They know that cannabis is legal and something for adults only, but they do not know we are growing here. They also have no idea that my spouse and I even use cannabis, since it’s only something we do when they are with my ex. I don’t think I should or can keep it a secret for much longer, and I don’t want them to figure it out on their own. I’d like to have a matter of fact conversation with my kid about the fact that we grow.

The problem is, I know my ex will absolutely go into a rage over this, and I’m concerned about the potential consequences (harassment from them, subtle or unsubtle parental alienation, and while small, a chance they would try to change our custody agreement). When I try to discuss this with my spouse, I feel like they dismiss my concerns as needless worry. Growing cannabis is important to my spouse, but I’d be fine giving it up. At the same time, I know there is nothing “wrong” or illegal about what we are doing, and I’m hesitant to let my ex’s emotions dictate my choices, or my spouse’s choices. But I feel like in this case there could be very real consequences for me and my child. Am I worrying too much about these potential consequences, or not enough? I’m really not sure how to proceed.

— Lost in the Weeds

Re: I mean, consult a lawyer, but I think you're overly worried.

  • Consult your lawyer about what (if any) consequences this could have on your custody arrangement, but it’s legal and you’re not doing anything wrong. If your teenager is old enough to understand what you’re doing, that it’s for adults and to be used responsibly then you’re probably fine. If your ex rages you have a reasonable conversation with your kid. If he tries to alter the agreement, well your lawyer already knows. 
  • Looking into the law (about custody) is a good move before explaining.

  • Talk to a lawyer.  If what you are doing is legal in your state then make sure there are no federal issues that could come into play here.  At some point, your child is going to know what it is so it is best to be clear about it before your ex finds out without your knowledge. 
  • OK, so my opinion/suggestion here may be unpopular and not exactly ethical...but...

    I think LW should wait as long as possible to tell the kid, when they sit them down they  explain it's legal and then say that it's information that stays in their house only.  I don't know one person with a difficult ex that a) their kids that are 10 and up don't know about the contention and b) know not to say shit to other parent about stuff at the other parent's house. It's literally none of dad's business. But I know that toes the line of asking to keep secrets, but as long as nothing you're doing is illegal or abusive/endangering, most lawyers will tell you that you can't control what goes on at the other house and a judge will tell you that.  

    Also, tween kids are just...not as aware sometimes as parents give them credit for.  DefConn is only aware of things we make him aware of OR if it falls into a category of interest to him. If the pot is growing among other gardening they do, and they don't have the kid harvesting, they likely won't know for awhile.   So I truly think LW has a few more years before they really need to worry.  

    But I also understand how awful it can be to deal with a vindictive and unpredictable ex and if you were married to that for a long time, the PTSD is hard to shake even if they truly don't have a legal leg to stand on. So for LW's peace of mind, they should spend the hourly rate to consult a lawyer. 
  • edited September 19
    Addressing this situation responsibly is crucial; consider discussing it openly with your spouse while keeping your child's well-being as the top priority.

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