Smokers and Child Custody – Beware!

Smokers Beware! If it wasn’t bad enough that smoking harms your health, appearance and wallet; it can also harm your chances of winning a child custody battle. So if all the other harmful effects of smoking haven’t motivated you to kick your habit maybe the thought of losing time with your child or children will. posted an article on this exact topic titled, “Smokers losing child custody cases a growing trend”. The author of the article, Myra Fleischer, describes how more and more states are factoring in “cigarette smoking in making decisions about who gets custody of minor children”. Specifically, Fleischer, lists results from a survey conducted by Action on Smoking and Health, which are as follows:

In at least 18 states, courts have ruled that subjecting a child to tobacco smoke is a factor which should be considered in deciding custody.

No judge and no court has ever ruled that subjecting a child to tobacco smoke should be ignored in deciding custody.

In thousands of cases, courts have issued orders prohibiting smoking in the presence of a child, especially in vehicles.

In some cases the orders prohibit smoking in a home 24 (or even 48) hours before the child arrives.

In some cases, parents have lost custody or had visitation reduced because they subjected a child to tobacco smoke.

Existing court orders regarding custody, visitation, etc. can often be modified if a child is being subjected to tobacco smoke.

Courts sometimes consider the smoking habits of others who may have contact with the child, such as grandparents, friends, and “significant others” when making custody decisions.

As a Jacksonville Child Custody Attorney I am well aware of the factors Jacksonville Judges take into consideration when making a child custody determination. Smoking is definitely one of them. Jacksonville Judges as well as all Florida Family Law Judges look to the best interest of the child standard when making custody determinations. So anything that can be harmful or detrimental to a child will be factored into a Judge’s decision.

Fighting in a child custody battle? Contact a Jacksonville Child Custody Attorney to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case and options.

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