Inventory For Divorce - Smoking Can Affect Your Divorce Settlement
Dear April Masini,
My ex-wife and I are currently engaged in a not-so-civil custody battle. I am seeing someone new, and the other day when my ex picked up our children she noticed that my new girlfriend was smoking."
The next day, I got a call from her. She had consulted her lawyer and said she was going to ask for changes in our visitation agreement based on my girlfriend being a smoker. Can she even do this? Please give me some divorce advice so I can keep my kids!
April Masini's Advice :
Dear Smoke-Free Dad,
You may be smoke-free, but your home is not, and your ex appears to be looking out for the health of your children when they are visiting you. Whether this has anything to do with her personal feelings about you or your new relationship is probably going to be irrelevant in the eyes of a court.
Smoking is bad for your health, and second hand smoke kills. It’s pretty clear. However, enforcement of health laws and regulations regarding smoking is more challenging, and with new evidence and regulations and laws regarding second hand smoke and children, the biggest impact may be felt in the family court where divorce custody cases are heard. Sound crazy? It’s not. When custody battles rage, everything becomes fair game, and if Mom or Dad exposes their child/children to second hand smoke, they may be declared by the court less fit parents than a parent who does not expose their child to health hazards.
What does this mean in reality? It means that Mom and Dad better not smoke, and they better not have a girlfriend, boyfriend or new spouse that smokes if they want custody of their children.
While it may seem harsh, the truth is, if parents and anyone who associates with children, stops their smoking we’ll ALL be healthier. But in the meantime, look for cigarettes and cigars to be the new ammunition in custody battles where babies and toddlers are involved.