Anti-smoking campaigns have become a fixture in today’s society. We see them when we watch TV, when we take the bus, and even in the very stores that sell cigarettes. The health risks of smoking are well known, and we try to discourage people from starting and encourage those already smoking to quit. Recently, even the courts have joined this battle, using smoking as a factor in determining child custody.
Smoking and Custody Cases
The most important thing to know about custody is that the best interest of the child is the main factor the courts will consider. The courts will analyze the situation from many angles, but they will always keep that in mind. For example, each parent will be considered, and if one smokes around the child, this could hurt his or her chances of receiving custody. In some recent cases, in fact, the custodial parent has lost custody to a nonsmoking parent, as being in a home or car filled with secondhand smoke is dangerous for children. Sometimes it is not just the parent that is considered; if a close friend or relative who smokes frequently visits, that may be enough to put the child in danger.
Just because one parent smokes, however, does not mean that he or she will definitely lose custody. For example, if a parent stops smoking 48 hours prior to his or her time with the child, this may allow him or her to maintain partial custody. On the other hand, bringing up the fact that the other parent smokes may not help your case; it might even hurt you. This goes back to the best interest of the child, and whether your attack on the other spouse is an attempt to keep your child safe or to get sole custody. Overall, though, it is clear that smoking has become an important consideration when it comes to determining custody. Quitting is an option for those who do not wish to have this factor even come into play, but it may look suspicious to quit immediately after you have been accused of smoking. Courts have been looking more favorably on those who quit before the custody battle begins, as that tends to show a true desire to quit rather that quitting as a manipulation tool.
Hospitals are Joining the Movement
The effects of smoking on children are shocking. Over 6,000 children die every year because of their parents’ smoking habits, and many more with conditions like asthma or allergies become very ill. Because of this, hospitals are taking on more responsibility when it comes to educating people about the dangers of smoking. Smoking is now considered child abuse in some states and hospital employees are required to report cases they come across. So, if your child ends up in the hospital after an asthma attack caused by your smoking, this could negatively affect your chances at custody in court.
These new trends have the potential to affect many parents who are fighting for custody for their children. If you or someone you know is fighting for custody of your children, we want to hear from you today. Do not hesitate to call the legal team at Lawrence Law Office at (614) 228 – 3664 for a consultation or email us using our website or [email protected].